Jim Henderson's Black & Gold Breakdown: Facing the Broncos

Football may be a team game, but if Sunday night's game is decided by anybody but two players it will be a major surprise.

As Joe Vitt returns to the Saints sideline he'll see a pair of quarterbacks he describes as "tough, smart, accurate."  Tracy Porter describes Drew Brees, who was once a teammate and now someone he'll try to intercept, and Peyton Manning, whom he once intercepted to win a Super Bowl and who is now a teammate, as "first-ballot Hall of Famers."

They would both be right.  After throwing five touchdowns and three interceptions in a 1-2 start with his new team, Peyton has passed for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns while completing 70 percent of his passes.

No player in NFL history has reached those figures in three consecutive games.  After a 0-3 start Brees has gone on a serious roll in the three games since too, throwing for four touchdowns last week against Tampa Bay.

The Saints won before and after their bye week.  The Broncos -- who like the Saints came back to defeat the Chargers before enjoying their week off -- will try to do the same.  Denver, at 17-6, is tied for the NFL's second best record in games following their bye week.

Drew Brees has never beaten the Broncos in Denver in four tries, once as a Saint.  He'll face a Bronco defense that forced six turnovers in the win over San Diego -- one that boasts outstanding playmakers at all three levels in Elvis Dumervill, Von Miller, and Champ Bailey. The Saints' 32nd ranked defense hasn't identified a playmaker at any level of theirs.

It's not to say that Brees can't make the difference in this one.  Only that more so than Manning, to win he'll have to.