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Manning focused on 49ers, not passing Favre

October 17, 2014

The San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos meet on Sunday for the first time since a London game nearly four years ago, when the teams weren’t the NFL powerhouses they have become. Now it is a potential Super Bowl preview.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning needs three touchdown passes to break Brett Favre’s league record of 508. He’s averaging three a game this season. Manning said he wants only to have more points than the 49ers do when it’s all over at Mile High Stadium.

“That’s what I’ve concentrated on, trying to do whatever it takes to win,” he said.

Manning added he wouldn’t mind seeing Ronnie Hillman run for four touchdowns against San Francisco. That would be a shocker, though, because the Broncos have just two running touchdowns this season to go with Manning’s 15 touchdown passes.

The 49ers started 1-2, but have begun to play some impressive football, too. They understand the chore ahead in trying to stop Manning.

“Whenever he takes the field, he’s just great all the time and that speaks volumes for the player that he is and continues to be,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Just keeps doing it and doing it and doing it. Great. Great with a capital G at the highest level.”

Coming off the first tie in team history, the Carolina Panthers are showing a better passing offense than anticipated. Quarterback Cam Newton looks healthy and strong and has found a comfort zone with tight end Greg Olson and rookie wideout Kelvin Benjamin, who leads all NFL rookies with 416 yards receiving.

The defense hasn’t been as stout as expected, though, and that never bodes well when facing Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, which the Panthers are visiting for the first time since 2008. Rodgers has 10 touchdown passes without throwing an interception in Green Bay’s three-game winning streak.

There could be long-term playoff ramifications when the Cincinnati Bengals meet the Colts in Indianapolis. It is the only game in Week 7 between teams that have sole possession of their division lead, giving the winner the inside track to potential playoff positioning.

The Bengals are reeling and the Colts are rolling.

Cincinnati comes off a blowout loss at New England and then a tie against Carolina. The Bengals have stuck by kicker Mike Nugent, who has been streaky this year and missed a 36-yard field goal at the end of overtime last week.

Colts passer Andrew Luck leads the league with 1,987 yards passing and 17 touchdowns. T.Y. Hilton comes off a career game with 223 yards on nine catches.

There’s also Kansas City at San Diego, the New York Giants at Dallas, Arizona at Oakland, Seattle at St. Louis, Atlanta at Baltimore, Miami at Chicago, New Orleans at Detroit, Cleveland at Jacksonville, Tennessee at Washington, and Minnesota at Buffalo.

The action began on Thursday when New England beat the New York Jets 27-25. Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns in a sixth straight loss for New York after an opening win.

On Monday, it’s Houston at Pittsburgh.

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