Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes for the fifth consecutive game on Sunday against the Bengals, as the Broncos went to Cincinnati and left with a hard-fought 31-23 win.
Manning wasn’t perfect on Sunday — both going to Cincinnati’s Terence Newman on passes intended for Broncos receiver Eric Decker — but he demonstrated once again that while he may say he’s not 100 percent healthy, he’s back to being one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and an MVP candidate. Manning is putting up numbers comparable to those of his four MVP seasons in Indianapolis, and his Broncos are 5-3 and in first place in the AFC West.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton completed 26 of 42 passes for 299 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw an interception and was under constant pressure from Denver’s Von Miller, who sacked Dalton three times.
The 3-5 Bengals have now lost four games in a row, and they’re looking increasingly unlikely to return to the playoffs. But the Broncos are the clear favorites to win the AFC West, and if Manning keeps getting better, they might just be the best team in the AFC. With Manning running the show, Denver has what it takes to get to the Super Bowl.