I'll go ahead and say it...
He'll come back, but Peyton needs to call it a career. There are a couple of Brett's records that he'll pass next season, but unless he makes it to another SB and wins, there's really nothing he can do at this point. With Seattle, San Francisco, Carolina, Arizona, and all of the physical teams in the NFC, does Denver even stand a chance?
The teams that gave the NFC squads fits all share a few things:
1) Mobile QBs. Peyton is the opposite of mobile. Not saying you gotta be Kaep, but Luck had success against the NFC West.
2) QBs with strong arms. Peyton is throwing ducks. That 4th and 2... where he hucked it across the field towards Bay Bay...
Zero zip or velocity.
3) Receivers who aren't afraid of contact. Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, Fitz, Boldin, etc. Decker vanishes when you put hands on him. Welker ain't getting younger. Bay Bay doesn't have success against top tier guys.
4) Defense. Barring a slew of FA signings, what can Denver do? It's not like they're one piece away from anything. Von and Chris Harris were out, but DRC is probably going to walk. Champ isn't getting younger.
As much as I want him to get that second ring... Father Time caught up to him. Defenses are faster than ever. He got away with some against SD and NE... **** didn't fly against Seattle. Linebackers move like safeties and defensive ends/OLBs are freakishly athletic.
Peyton can still win games, and if he does come back, Denver will probably make the playoffs again. He'll break more records. It's not that he can't play QB anymore, but can he -- with that Denver team -- do anything that will help or improve his legacy?