At 39, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees seems to have pulled the lithium batteries out of his clock on the wall.
At 37, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who has two Super Bowl rings to Brees’ one, is trying his best to keep pace with a respected elder.
The battle of two quarterbacks with New Orleans connections - and quarterbacks who are inspirations for those with gray, thinning or no hair - will highlight Sunday’s game between the Saints (2-1) and Giants (1-2) at MetLife Stadium.
Brees is coming off one of the epic performances of his 17-year career, a 43-37 overtime road thriller over Atlanta in which he threw for three touchdowns and ran for two others, including a spin move where he bounced off two Atlanta defenders. He also and surpassed Brett Favre’s career completion record of 6,300.
Next for Brees’ wall of records will be the career passing yardage mark held by Eli’s retired older brother Peyton. Brees has thrown for 71,523 yards in 17 seasons, which places him 315 yards behind second-place Favre and 417 yards behind Peyton Manning.
“One at a time,” Brees said. “That stuff takes care of itself.”
Asked if he could continue completing passes at an 80.6 percent rate, Brees said: “I don’t see why not. It’s not easy. There’s a high expectation level with our offense. At the end of the day you want to make great decisions. Everyone’s mindset is at any time, their number can be called.”
In a 52-49 victory over the Giants in 2015, Brees threw for 505 yards - the second-highest total of his career - and a career-high seven touchdown passes. Manning accounted for five touchdown passes 350 yards.
“When you go against the Saints you know their offense is talented,’’ said Manning, who grew up in New Orleans and is close friends with Brees. “They’ve been scoring a bunch of points this year, so you know you got to have the mindset you’re going to have to control the ball, you want to try to run clock and you’re going to have to score points.”
The Giants pulled out a 27-22 road victory over the Texans last Sunday for their first victory.
The Saints had seven players limited in practice on Wednesday: RB Alvin Kamara (knee), DE Cameron Jordan (biceps), WRs Cameron Meredith and Ted Ginn Jr. (knees), G Andrus Peat (ankle) and DT Tyeler Davison (foot).
Seven Giants did not practice Wednesday: CB Eli Apple (groin), LB Connor Barwin (knee), TE Evan Engram (knee), CB Antonio Hamilton (groin), DL Damon Harrison (knee) and RB Jonathan Stewart (foot).
—Field Level Media