Brady-Manning XIII and the hype machine

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Brady-Manning XIII and the hype machine

FOXBORO -- The two best quarterbacks of their generation -- arguably of any generation -- will meet once again at Gillette Stadium on Sunday in Brady-Manning XIII. And it could be the last time.

If there's going to be a XIV, it'll have to come in the postseason or the two teams will have to finish in the same place in their respective divisions. And it'll have to come soon because the boys are getting up there -- Peyton Manning will be 37 in March; Tom Brady turns 36 next August.

They've gone through this process enough by now to know how it works in the days leading up to their teams' meeting. Their job is simple. Lob verbal bouquets infused with the baby's breath of respect and admiration until Friday. And then try to eviscerate the other guy's defense on Sunday.

This ain't the Decatur Staleys against the Providence Steamrollers and it's not 1931. Brady and Manning don't need to carnival bark to help this game get attention. We all take care of that for them.

Asked if he wearies of speaking about playing "against" someone who he only touches when he shakes hands with Manning before and after the game, Brady said, "At the end of the day, its the Patriots versus the Broncos. I have a job to do and the defensive guys have a job to do," Brady said.

He did, however, indicate that there may be a different mindset with the Patriots offense against Manning than when it faces a garden variety Locker, Kolb or Fitzpatrick.

"You're not blind to the fact that theres a great player on the other side of the ball that is capable of having a great performance," Brady allowed. "I think you realize that thats a part of the game. He's going to complete passes, they're going to gain yards. Its just a matter of us playing a better 60-minute game, being good on third down, being good in the red area, situationally being good."

And if you listened closely, you heard Brady allude to the history between these teams. He may not have meant to, but when Brady talked about the competitiveness of these matchups, he seemed to reference the 2009 meeting in Indy and the infamous Fourth-and-2 game.

"If we have an opportunity to win the game at the end, thats what youve got to do," Brady added. "It seems like it has always come down to the end against him. When he was playing for the Colts, it was always close games. Theyve been in every game theyve played this year, right down to the end. The two games they lost, the other team was in a four-minute offense and really made a couple critical first downs there at the end to win to not give them the ball back."

Plumbing the interpersonal relationship between Manning and Brady has yielded little. They're friends and maintain contact but they don't seem to run in the same circles.

The competition and rivalry we as media or fan "experts" are forever taking stock of is not the cutthroat one that, say, Magic-Bird was in the early days.

"He's a friend of mine," said Brady. "We dont talk much during the season, but I think hes someone that certainly Ive always looked up to and admired and really respected the way he plays the position, the way he works, the way he leads. Hes been a phenomenal player and we played against him a long time at the Colts -- it felt like very year -- so you see a lot of those games and obviously I have learned a lot from him."

But neither Brady nor Manning will be thinking about the day they played golf at Cypress Point or how they both missed full seasons but came back to play again or whether they'll enter the Hall of Fame on the same August day in the next decade or so.
They will be worried about themselves and their jobs, said Brady.

"We have to score more points than the other team," he pointed out (helpfully). "If they score 10, weve got to score 11. If they score 40, weve got to score 41. I think thats more the mindset. Hopefully the defense goes out there and plays a great game. At the same time, you have to expect to play a great game as well. You cant think that you're going to score 20 points and think its good enough or 30 points and think its good enough. Whatever they score, we have to score more."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Injuries piling up for Patriots

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Injuries piling up for Patriots

0:41 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their main takeaways from the Patriots win over the Saints and discuss the injuries sustained during the game, specifically Rob Gronkowski's.

6:23 - Holley, Giles, and Smith talk about David Price pitching his first innings out of the bullpen for the Red Sox, but Holley thinks it is a mistake that he is not starting.

11:21 - Abby Chins joins BST for a discussion about Kyrie Irving's appearance on First Take.

14:43 - We go around the NFL for week 2 of the season and talk about the most surprising and best teams in the league.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Stafford throws for 2 TDs as Lions beat Beckham, Giants

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MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Stafford throws for 2 TDs as Lions beat Beckham, Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- So far, so good for Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions. Eli Manning and the New York Giants are heading in the opposite direction.

Stafford threw for two touchdowns, rookie Jamal Agnew broke the game open with an 88-yard punt return and the Lions beat the Giants 24-10 on Monday night.

The Lions (2-0) sacked Eli Manning five times and Stafford put together another big game while sending the Giants (0-2) to a second straight disappointing performance. Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. returned from a sprained left ankle, but New York still struggled offensively.

"We did a nice job of getting in the end zone early and our defense did what they do," Stafford said.

Stafford found Marvin Jones for a 27-yard touchdown in the first quarter and passed to Eric Ebron for a go-ahead 7-yarder in the second. Matt Prater added a 56-yard field goal just before halftime that bounced off the upright, helping the Lions to a 17-7 lead at the break.

Ezekiel Ansah had three sacks as Detroit joined Atlanta and Carolina as the only unbeaten teams in the NFC through Week 2. The Lions made the playoffs last season, but finished the year with four straight losses.

Beckham, a three-time Pro Bowler who missed the season opener, had four catches for 36 yards in limited action.

Manning threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Evan Engram on the first play of the second quarter, but the rookie tight end was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for a seemingly obscene gesture. It allowed the Lions to get the ball at the Giants 45 after the kickoff went out of bounds and Stafford drove them for a second score.

New York closed to 17-10 on Aldrick Rosas' 25-yard field goal early in the second half, but it wasted a chance for a TD. The Giants had first-and-goal at the 1 and then got pushed back to the 11 on a holding penalty on a first-down run.

"We talked about playing complete, complimentary football. By no stretch of the imagination did we do that tonight," said Ben McAdoo, who led the Giants to their first playoff berth since 2011 last season in his first year as head coach. "We've got to do better. We've dug ourselves in a hole. No one feels sorry for us. We've got to find a way to get better and get better in a hurry."

Agnew then helped clinch the game for Detroit with his big return with 12:56 left, faking out New York punter Brad Wing on his way to the end zone. It was the fifth-longest punt return in team history.

Manning was 22 for 32 for 239 yards for New York, while Stafford was 15 for 21 for 122 yards. The NFL's highest-paid player threw for four touchdowns in Detroit's season-opening victory against Arizona.

INJURIES

Lions SS Tavon Wilson (shoulder) left in the second half. ... The Giants lost starting RT Bobby Hart on the opening series. LG Justin Pugh moved to tackle and Brett Jones replaced him. Giants also played without starters MLB B.J. Goodson (lower leg) and CB Janoris Jenkins (ankle-hand). Backup LB J.T. Thomas (groin) was ruled out early in the second half.

MEMORY LANE

The Giants held a halftime ceremony to honor the 10th anniversary of their 2007 Super Bowl championship team. Coach Tom Coughlin and Hall of Famer Michael Strahan brought the Lombardi Trophy onto the field. New York beat the previously undefeated New England Patriots in the title game.

UP NEXT

Lions: host the undefeated Falcons on Sunday afternoon.

Giants: at Philadelphia for Sunday afternoon game.

CSNNE SCHEDULE