EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Eli Manning has come along nicely. No one can deny he has been clutch a couple of times. But nobody seriously believes he's a better quarterback than his brother Peyton Manning, right?
"I'd take Peyton over anybody, not just Eli. That's any quarterback ever," said Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton.
For the third time in three games against each other, big brother Peyton showed little brother Eli how quarterback is played.
Peyton Manning threw for two touchdowns and was again exquisite in the second half while leading the Broncos to a decisive, 41-23 victory Sunday against Eli's New York Giants before 81,285 at MetLife Stadium.
"It's a strange feeling," Peyton Manning said. "It's not like beating another team. It's not quite as enjoyable as it would be beating somebody else."
This game was dubbed Manning Bowl III, and the results have been Peyton, Peyton, Peyton. Eli was swept in the three-game series. Stamp that 0-3 with four interceptions.
"I think both of us are glad that it's over with," Peyton said. "I don't think I'll make it to the next regular-season one."
Say it ain't so, Peyton. The next time the Broncos and Giants would meet in the regular season would be 2017. Peyton Manning's contract with the Broncos expires after the 2016 season.
As he plays here today in 2013, Manning at 37 is better than Eli at 32.
"Eli is a great football player. He's done very well in this league. He's got two Super Bowls," said Broncos tight end Julius Thomas. "But we are very excited about the Manning we have."
Peyton and the Broncos might play here again in the final game of the NFL season. But just as Peyton watched Eli play in the Super Bowl two years ago in Indianapolis, Eli might need a ticket to watch this year's Super Bowl in his home stadium.
Eli Manning was decent at times Sunday. But he also threw some costly interceptions. One erased three points the Giants should have had late in the first half. Another set up a short TD drive for big brother. His third and fourth turnovers were befuddling chucks into the end zone.
"Eli was good, too," said Broncos cornerback Chris Harris.
Peyton Manning was considered one of the all-time greats even before his remarkable comeback season with the Broncos last year. Early in his romp against the Giants, Peyton Manning joined Brett Favre and Dan Marino in the 60,000-yard passing club.
Not including his rookie-year mulligan, Peyton has averaged a 12-4 record in his past 13 playing seasons. And he threw seven touchdowns in a game just last week for the Broncos.
He has been great. He's still great.
"Peyton, I think, has in a way set the bar for quarterbacks over the years," Eli said in a conference call with the Denver reporters this week. "If you say I'm better or say I'm, worse, I'm not going to be upset either way or claim one over the other."
The chutzpah of this Eli! Would he have left the discussion open for debate five, six years ago, before he won two Super Bowls?
"Jim Plunkett won two Super Bowls," said CBS analyst Shannon Sharpe. "If you're an elite quarterback, you can't be missing the playoffs."
Eli's Giants have missed the playoffs three of the past four years. And they're 0-2 to start this season.
Peyton Manning has brought his team to the playoffs 10 straight years, 12 of the past 13. And his Broncos are 2-0 this year, winner of 13 consecutive regular-season games dating back to last season, seven in a row on the road.
In Manning Bowls I and II, Peyton decisively outplayed his brother while leading his Colts to victory. In Manning Bowl III, Peyton threw for 307 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 107.9 passer rating. Eli Manning threw for 362 yards but his four picks left him with a 53.3 rating.
Was his losing performance more disappointing with big brother on the other side?
"I don't think so," Eli said. "This is something that we're both passionate about. What we're doing is our job. It's my concern to this team and getting to winning right now."
Two games into the season and already Peyton Manning has nine touchdown passes and no interceptions.
"I have a lot of respect for Eli, I know how hard he works," said Eric Decker, who bounced back from a two-drop opener to have a team-best nine catches for 97 yards against the Giants. "But I'm not going to complain about playing with Peyton."