It’s not a secret. Peyton Manning is a demigod *.
And he rolls into Dallas – well, Arlington really… but those are minor details – to face the shoddy-looking Cowboys Sunday.
Peyton looks unstoppable, as does the Broncos offense that is scoring 44.8 points per game.
And that’s why Sunday’s contest is a real opportunity for the ‘Boys.
As the great Eddie Middlebrook said in Friday’s “Face-off” piece, it’s always good to judge yourself against the best. The Cowboys will have to see just what they have in their offensive tank unless they want to get steamrolled.
The thus far closed-minded brainstorm of Bill Callahan and Tony Romo will need to implement a plan for DeMarco Murray and a consistent run game. As in, if Murray is getting five yards per carry like he did against San Diego, maybe it would be a good idea to continue to give him the pigskin rather than abandoning the approach altogether.
If Tony Romo wants to look like an elite quarterback who deserves $108 million to throw a football, he has to capitalize on this chance to compete with the best.
The undisputed best.
But Dallas also has a chance to judge itself against, well, the worst. The Broncos have already faced two of Dallas’s cohorts in the NFC East (the NFL’s weakest division through four weeks), the Giants and Eagles.
The Broncos not only beat those teams, they annihilated them. Peyton was victorious in the 2013 edition of the Manning Bowl as the Broncos scored 31 second-half points and downed Eli and the Giants by 18.
The Orange Crush (do people still call them that?) opened up a can of you-know-what on the “high-flying” Eagles when Denver put up 38 unanswered points en route to a season-high 52 points and a 32-point win.
Washington apparently drew the longest straw in the scheduling process, as the ‘Skins don’t have to play Denver until week 8.
But what Sunday can be for the Cowboys is a measuring stick game. A game in which the ‘Boys have a chance to compete with the best, with no real expectations of coming away with a win.
Even giving Peyton and the Broncos a run for their money – for four quarters – would be something no team has done yet this season, and it would set Dallas apart from the mediocre NFC East at this early point in the season.
Ernie Sims may have said he’s sick of hearing about Peyton Manning, but the best way for the talk to be about the Cowboys instead of about Manning would be to keep up with Denver and maybe even surprise the NFL world by coming away with a W.
The Cowboys gave away the game in the second last week in California, and the Broncos have done nothing but run away with games in the final thirty minutes (they’ve scored 30-plus in the second half in three of four games).
So there are several trends that can be broken by Dallas simply playing four quality quarters and keeping pace with the Broncos.
The ‘Boys can silence the “Dallas will go 8-and-8” crowd. They can slow the juggernaut that is the Broncos offense. And they can earn a shred of respect for themselves and for the NFL’s weakest division.
Just by keeping up with the best.
* I can only say with about 95 percent confidence that Peyton Manning is actually a demigod. There is no documented mythological record of his being divine or supernatural.