Z Files: NFL's elite no longer Peyton's Place

Z Files: NFL's elite no longer Peyton's Place

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Admit it, you saw this coming. You know, the Browns and Broncos squaring off in Week 6, and the team with the better quarterback is the team that'll be wearing Orange and Brown, not Orange and Blue. The team boasting the reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week behind center. Because who wouldn't rather have Josh McCown than Peyton Manning?

Hard to believe I just typed that last sentence. But that might be the reality this week. Whatever the Browns are doing with McCown, it's working. Whatever the Broncos are doing with Manning, it isn't. Gary Kubiak has taken some heat this season for Manning's struggles, but the fact is, Peyton's lost a lot off his fastball. The Broncos are 5-0 because of their defense, not because of their future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Career-wise, of course, it's no contest. Manning's a first-ballot guy, top 10 all-time, who still has the brains to beat you. But at 39, he's actually older and less mobile than McCown, and that will be the only time we can say that about an opposing quarterback this season.

McCown has thrown 6 TD passes. Manning has thrown 6. But McCown has thrown only one interception. Manning has thrown 7. The natives are restless in Broncos Nation, with some actually calling for Manning to be benched in favor of Brock Osweiler, a situation nobody possibly could have envisioned.

Then again, nobody could have envisioned the scenario this week, either. McCown coming into this game with a far hotter hand than Manning. With a big game on the line, would I honestly rather have Josh McCown than Peyton Manning, even at this stage of Peyton's career? No, no, no, no, no. We all know their complete bodies of work. And come Sunday, McCown will face the toughest defense he's seen all season, so we may witness a reality check. But the way Josh is playing, that's no sure thing. And the way Peyton's playing, neither is he.
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