Oct 7, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) shakes hands with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) following the game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
KUSA - The hype for Manning-Mallett would be slightly muted compared to Manning-Brady XV in the AFC Championship Game. It's not to be though.
New England quarterback Tom Brady was absent from practice Wednesday due to an illness. Backup quarterback Ryan Mallett took all the snaps for the Patriots in their first day of preparation for the Broncos. Head coach Bill Belichick isn't concerned about the two-time Super Bowl MVP - and neither is Peyton Manning.
When asked if it was a critical occurrence, the Broncos quarterback - who has sat out several Wednesday practices this season to heal a sore ankle - asserted: "I would say probably it's not that big of one."
Mallett even joked that he enjoyed taking more of the snaps at practice, but he also knows Brady will be back.
Brady is 10-4 against Manning-led teams including 0-2 against him since he's joined the Broncos. The two top seeds in the AFC will meet on Sunday, and so will two of the most prolific passers in NFL history will meet again.