You can fool Peyton Manning once, but rarely can you fool him twice.
This year's NFL MVP has been pretty successful in recent years at exacting revenge. The San Diego Chargers last week were his latest victim.
As you are probably well aware, the Chargers famously(?) beat Peyton Manning in Denver about a month ago. They also just lost to him in the divisional round.
The Chargers aren't the first to suffer the fate of Manning's revenge. In fact, the QB is 5-0 in his last five games facing an opponent who had beat him earlier in the year. The last time someone got Manning twice in a row in one year, you'd have to go all the way back to the 2007 Chargers who knocked Manning out of the post-season in the divisional round. They then went onto lose to the Pats in the AFC Championship game.
This isn't just any team though. This is the New England Patriots, right?
If Manning is so good at revenge games, how good is Tom Brady in rematches where the Pats won the first time around? After all, this is how it will go in Denver this weekend.
Looking at just this year, the Patriots are off to a poor start, going 1-2. The Pats beat both the Jets and Dolphins at home and then later lost to them both on the road. Frighteningly similar to how this AFC Championship game will go. Their one victory in this scenario came against the Buffalo Bills, whom they swept.
Overall though, the Patriots record is pretty good when beating an opponent the first time seeing as they swept their division the two years prior to this one.
However, looking at only rematches that occurred in the post-season where the Pats won the first game, the Pats are 3-3 dating back to 2007. The two wins in a row came against the Chargers (2007), the Broncos (2011) and the Texans (2012). Meanwhile the Patriots suffered the revenge of the Giants (2007), the Ravens (2009) and the Jets (2010).
Just for fun, how does Tom Brady fare against opponents who've beaten him once before?
In the same span of time as Manning's 5-0 streak, Tom Brady is 3-2 in "revenge" games.
The wins all came against divisional opponents. Brady lost to the Jets in Week 2 of both 2009 and 2010, but then exacted revenge in blowout wins in the second half of those years. Though, it's worth noting the Jets did get the final laugh by beating the Patriots in the post-season in 2010. They also lost to the Bills in Buffalo early in 2011, but later beat them at home.
The two teams to have beaten the Patriots twice in one season have both done it in the biggest games. The Ravens, of course, beat the Patriots in Week 3 last year, and then defeated them in the AFC Championship game. The Giants the year before also delivered a devastating post-season blow, defeating the Pats in the regular season and then obviously beating them in the Super Bowl.
So, what does all of this tell you?
Peyton Manning is pretty darn good at not losing twice to the same team in a row. And the Patriots are pretty mediocre at beating a team twice, in the post-season at least. One thing they do have going for them is that Manning is virtually a division opponent, seeing as the Pats have faced him nearly every year. Bill Belichick is familiar enough with him that there really won't be a ton of new wrinkles to throw around in this matchup. Meaning? Neither side is going to trick eachother, it'll really just come down to who plays the best on Sunday.
Maybe the only records you need to know, the Patriots are 10-4 all time versus Manning, and he hasn't beaten the Patriots since 2009 (Pats are 3-0 since).
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