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Manning Bowl III set for Super Bowl-like treatment

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning looks to pass against the Baltimore Ravens during their NFL football game in Denver, Colorado Sept
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning looks to pass against the Baltimore Ravens during their NFL football game in Denver, Colorado Sept

By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - New York will get a taste of Super Bowl-like hype this week as Peyton Manning leads the Denver Broncos into MetLife Stadium to face younger brother Eli and the Giants in a marquee family feud dubbed Manning Bowl III.

It may be five months until MetLife Stadium hosts the first Super Bowl staged outdoors in a winter climate, but for now the hottest ticket in town is Sunday's sibling showdown between the quarterbacking brothers.

Ticket resale site StubHub said it already sold more tickets to Sunday's contest than the next two Giants home games combined with some sellers asking as much as $6,000 a seat.

Manning family reunions on the field are rare; Sunday's meeting marking just the third time Peyton and Eli will have stared across at each other from opposing sidelines, the game generating massive buzz at home and abroad with fans from as far away as Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Vienna scooping up tickets.

"It's our first home game, and its Eli and Peyton playing against each other. Those things combine to make it even more of an event than it normally would be," Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon told nj.com.

Peyton enjoys a 2-0 edge in head-to-head clashes and the four-time NFL most valuable player is favored to maintain his perfect record against the Giants, who stumbled out of the gate committing six turnovers in a sloppy 36-31 season-opening loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

When the brothers met in the first Manning Bowl in 2006 it was Peyton and the Indianapolis Colts coming out on top 26-21.

Four years later Peyton showed no mercy to his younger brother as the Colts crushed the Giants 38-14 to maintain a vice-like grip on the family bragging rights.

Peyton comes into Manning Bowl III holding a hot hand after firing an NFL record-equaling seven touchdowns in Denver's season-opening 49-27 dissection of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

STIFF CHALLENGE

Despite their contrasting form, Sunday's matchup could produce plenty of offensive fireworks as Peyton and Eli engage in a game of sibling one-upmanship.

Even with the Giants Week One woes, Eli still passed for 450 yards and four touchdowns, along with three interceptions, and with quality receivers like Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, who caught three of Manning's touchdown tosses, he could provide a stiff challenge for the Denver secondary.

While the Manning Bowl is set for a Super Bowl-type buildup, the most compelling game of Week Two will take place on the West coast where the San Francisco 49ers and host Seattle Seahawks - two top contenders and division rivals - will bang helmets.

The 49ers underlined their championship ambitions last Sunday as Colin Kaepernick passed for a career-high 412 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-28 win over the Green Bay Packers.

Seattle also opened their campaign with a victory but were far less impressive in holding off the Carolina Panthers 12-7. But this week they have the advantage of playing at CenturyLink Field, one of the NFL's most hostile venues for visiting teams.

Week Two kicks off with an intriguing Thursday night contest in New England with the Patriots hosting the AFC East division rival New York Jets.

For the second straight week, the Patriots face a rookie quarterback with Geno Smith getting the start under center for New York after piloting the Jets to a surprise Week One win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Patriots will be looking for a major upgrade on their performance in Buffalo where they needed a field goal with five second remaining to see off the feisty Bills.

Eyes will also be on Lambeau Field where the Packers will try to rebound against the Washington Redskins.

Week Two will wrap up with a bruising AFC North battle as the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers chase a first win.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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