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Manning enjoys ‘best year ever’

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POSTED December 18, 2013 11:05 p.m.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — With Peyton Manning on the verge of breaking Tom Brady’s single-season touchdown record, Houston interim coach Wade Phillips calls this “just the best year ever of any quarterback.”

Manning won Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year this week, he’s the leading vote-getter in Pro Bowl balloting and he’s the odds-on favorite to win his fifth NFL MVP award.

He has the Broncos (11-3) poised to once again secure home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs as he seeks that second Super Bowl ring that eluded him a year ago.

Asked what he’s seen from Manning so far that would be a priority for his defense on Sunday, Phillips didn’t know where to start.

“What haven’t you seen?” he asked. “Guy is going to set every record that’s ever been in the books as far as touchdown passes, yards, four-touchdown games, it goes on and on.”

Manning is four touchdown passes shy of breaking Brady’s record of 50 TDs set in 2007. With a career-high 4,811 yards passing, Manning is 666 yards from surpassing Drew Brees’ single-season record set in 2011.

Asked Wednesday whether he felt he deserved another MVP honor, Manning laughed off the question, then went down his list of concerns: Wes Welker’s concussion, J.J. Watt’s disruption, an unfamiliar, unpredictable opponent in the Texans (2-12).

“That is plenty on my plate to focus on,” Manning said. “I know that’s probably not the answer that you’re looking for, but that is all my focus is on and that’s the way it has to be.”

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