Since the 2007 NFL season, when the New England Patriots went 16-0 during the regular season, every great start for a team, including the perfect Denver Broncos, is measured by those standards. Peyton Manning, having an absolutely incredible start to this season, is doing even better than the record breaking pace Tom Brady was on that year.
Through the first six games of the 2007 season, Tom Brady completed 72.5% of his passes, throwing 21 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, and his QBR (the ESPN way of measuring quarterbacks) was 89.1. The Patriots, obviously, were 6-0, winning their first six games by at least 17 points.
Manning? He’s completing 74.2% of his passes, has thrown 22 touchdown passes and two interceptions while his QBR is at 90.1, better than anyone else in the NFL this season. While Brady had only two games of over 300 yards at that point, Manning’s “worst” performance came against the Jacksonville Jaguars, throwing for 295 yards. The Broncos had their smallest margin of victory, winning by 16 points.
None of Manning’s numbers will matter if the Broncos have the same kind of ending the Pats’ suffered from, which was going 18-0 through the playoffs before losing to the New York Giants. As perfect as a season can be, teams that see only the Super Bowl as their goal tend to look back and be disappointed with what they’ve achieved, even if it broke almost every offensive record in the NFL books.
The Broncos are 6-0 so far, one of two still undefeated teams in the league. Manning is on pace to win yet another MVP award, his fifth if nothing unexpected happens in the next 10 weeks and the Broncos have a surprising collapse. They don’t have to go undefeated for Manning to edge out Brady’s numbers from 2007, but despite this incredible start, it’ll be surprising to see him keep up this pace for an entire season without slowing down at some point.
Right now, Manning is projected to finish with 5811 yards, 59 touchdown passes and 5 interceptions. Brady finished that year throwing for 4806 yards, 50 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions.