Andrew Luck was exceptional Sunday afternoon in the Indianapolis Colts’ 26-10 home playoff win against the Cincinnati Bengals. Luck completed 31 of 44 passes for 376 yards and a touchdown, easily out-dueling Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. The win was the second of Luck’s NFL career, following a 45-44 home playoff win against the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card round of last year’s playoffs.

Following that win over the Chiefs last year, Luck’s Colts lost to the New England Patriots on the road, 43-22. Luck was beat up in that game; he threw four interceptions against two touchdowns, and completed less than 50 percent of his passes. This year, said SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio’s Dan Levy, Luck needs to slay the divisional-round giant – in this instance, Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Denver.

“They need to win another game,” Levy said of Luck and the Colts. “Winning one playoff game at home is not gonna be enough. Andrew Luck – and it’s not just him, because he’s the whole team, I get that – the Indianapolis Colts with Andrew Luck cannot lose to Denver and be OK with that. They have to, at some point, say, ‘We’re not just gonna sit here and wait until Peyton Manning and Tom Brady retire to ascend to become the best team in the AFC.'”

Once they do get that win, Levy and Josh Zerkle think Luck has the potential to surpass Manning as the Colts’ best quarterback.

“They went from Peyton Manning, they had one bad year, and they got Andrew Luck, who is the next Peyton Manning,” Levy said. “He is as Peyton Manning as any quarterback could be, except he’s also more mobile. By the end of this guy’s career, we could be like, ‘Hey, remember when Peyton Manning was there? No? Right, because this guy’s better.’ And that’s scary to think about.”

“As young as he is, and as many quarterbacks as we’ve seen – even veteran quarterbacks – the stage has not been too big for Andrew Luck,” Zerkle added. “The poise, even right out of the gate, you talk about intangibles, like eye discipline, but also just the way he talks about his team; the fun fact we learned earlier this year about how he compliments defensive players for big hits, regarded as brilliant counter-psychological trash talk, in a sense.”

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