SAM FARMER / ON THE NFL

Eli vs. Peyton: Manning family dynamic tension

He said he expects the Broncos to be a productive running team this year with their trio of backs: Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman and rookie Montee Ball.

"Peyton, his deal's always been balance," Archie said. "He likes to call plays at the line and make choices, but I've never seen him pass-happy. He'll take what they give him. But he likes to have a running game — and he needs a running game. At age 37, you've got to have a running game."

Even though he said there are many factors that go into a victory — some of which don't show up in the statistics — Archie conceded: "Most people would say, 'Hey, you throw seven touchdowns, that's your greatest game.' And gosh, that's unbelievable."

Of the fact the game was moved from Baltimore to Denver because of a scheduling conflict with baseball, he said: "The Broncos probably ought to send the Orioles a gift package or something."

Archie scoffs at the people already predicting how many touchdown passes Peyton will throw this season: "I heard some guy say, 'Well, at this rate he's going to throw 60 touchdowns.' Baloney. You just don't know. Football is a crazy game, and you have no idea what's in store, so you just play the game."

And to the people already writing off the defending Super Bowl champions: "Believe me, the Ravens will be there at the end. The Ravens will be around. Don't worry about the Ravens. Too well-coached, and too many good players."

Cooper, too, has a special appreciation for the seven touchdowns. His career as a college receiver was cut short by neck problems, but he did step in at quarterback as a sophomore at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, the high school alma mater of all the Manning brothers.

In a loss to Belle Chasse, Cooper nearly counted to seven himself . . . when six of his passes were picked off.

"I'm pretty sure I threw six," he said. "But in the paper, they only gave me credit for five. Maybe the reporter left in the fourth quarter when I threw my sixth."

False starts

Don't be surprised if Seattle struggles in its opener Sunday at Carolina.

The Seahawks might be Super Bowl contenders, but they have repeatedly started slowly under Coach Pete Carroll, especially on the road. The last three seasons, they're 0-3 in their road openers — at Denver, San Francisco and Arizona — and had a combined eight turnovers and 31 penalties.

In the past, they've been markedly better with some games under their belt.

Misdirection play?

Heading into his team's opener against Green Bay, San Francisco Coach Jim Harbaugh has kicked up a lot of dust about how the rules protect (or don't protect) quarterbacks on read-option plays. In a divisional win over the Packers in January, Colin Kaepernick ran for a playoff-record 181 yards and two touchdowns.

It wouldn't be out of character for Harbaugh to talk all week about the run, then throw a curveball by keeping Kaepernick in the pocket the way he did in the NFC championship game at Atlanta, when the quarterback had two carries.

Slippery slope

Washington's Robert Griffin III, who plans to debut on his rebuilt knee Monday night when the Redskins play host to Philadelphia, said he intends to slide more frequently.

Then again, it doesn't help that FedEx Field looks like a tractor-pull course after games.

sam.farmer@latimes.com

CHICAGO

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