EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Maybe Peyton Manning can get back to MetLife Stadium at the end of this season and really rub it in.
Big Brother won again on Sunday, making it three-zip in these Manning Bowl matchups pitting Peyton vs. Eli, which tend to weigh on their emotions.
"It's a unique situation," Peyton said after leading the Denver Broncos to a 41-23 victory. "I think both of us are glad it's over with."
Sometimes, it doesn't seem fair.
One of Eli's four picks, in the fourth quarter, was deflected with textbook coverage, then took a weird bounce off a shoe and wound up in Chris Harris' bread basket.
Another Eli interception, just before halftime, came on a zig-zag situation.
Intended receiver Hakeem Nicks "zigged" inside, while Eli's pass "zagged" to the outside corner of the end zone. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's easy, over-the-shoulder pick mimicked a Willie Mays catch.
One of Peyton's TD passes, on the other hand, popped out of Julius Thomas' hands just as the tight end crashed to the turf. It just so happened that Thomas had also crashed the plane of the goal line.
Minutes later, Trindon Holliday returned a line-drive punt for an 81-yard TD.
So it was like that. Peyton's team got and made the breaks. A one-point game in the third quarter, with the underdog New York Giants hanging tough, mushroomed into a rout.
"I wish it had been a little closer," Archie Manning, the daddy, told USA TODAY Sports. "I hate to see the Giants struggle."
Peyton, who passed for 307 yards with two TDs and no INTs on Sunday, can never fully rejoice when beating Little Brother.
"It's a strange feeling," he said. "It's not like beating another team."
The way it appears now, Eli won't add to his championship collection this season. The Giants are 0-2, and just three teams have ever started in that spot and won a crown.
There are leaks in the secondary, the pass rush isn't what it used to be, and there are all those turnover issues (two games, 10 giveaways). Eli passed for 362 yards on Sunday, but like the 450 last week, a lot of it came in a runaway contest.
But you never know. These Giants, under Tom Coughlin, have started ugly before, fixed themselves and finished strong. It's too early to count Eli out.
"He'll be fine," Peyton said. "They always play their best when everyone is stacked against them."
It's not too early, though, to envision that the Broncos are on a course that winds up in New Jersey in early February — when The Farmer's Almanac predicts a magnificent blizzard — for Super Bowl XLVIII.
When Peyton, 37, came back from the four neck procedures to join forces with Broncos legend-turned-architect John Elway, it was a win-it-all-now mission. The clock ticks.
It looks promising, however. They're 2-0 and Peyton, with rehab and reps, looks a lot stronger than he did a year ago.
Although he noted the flow of a balanced team win on Sunday, he can do much to take pressure off a defense that lost Von Miller for six games for violating the NFL drug policy (and Elvis Dumervil for good because of a fax snafu) by producing the points that provides cushions. Any defense is better when playing with a fat lead.
Through two games, Denver is averaging 45 points.
Also, although the AFC West was perfect Sunday, it might be the NFL's weakest division. So the Broncos have some favorable conditions to set themselves up for January.
As long as they don't wind up blowing it as they did last season — when they won 11 consecutive games, earned the No. 1 playoff seed, then caved in against the eventual champion Baltimore Ravens.
That also provided a fresh reminder of the Peyton history that is less filling — the playoff history. Peyton has a career playoff record of 9-11. Meanwhile, Eli is 8-3 in postseason ... if he can just get there.
Peyton always gets there, but too often isn't the same player as he is during the regular season.
Maybe he can reverse that trend with another trip to MetLife Stadium.
One thing seems certain: A Manning Bowl IV would be a Super Bowl matchup.
The Giants and Broncos won't meet again in the regular season for four years — at which time Peyton figures he'll be retired.
"This will be the end of it," he said of the Manning Bowl series.
Unless of course, lightning strikes.