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Game Preview: Patriots host Broncos in primetime matchup
Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium (68,756)
The New England Patriots will play a primetime nationally-televised game for the second consecutive week when they host the Denver Broncos. Last week, the Patriots traveled to Carolina for a Monday Night Football matchup with the Panthers and dropped to 7-3 on the season after a 24-20 loss.
This week’s game will mark the third straight season that the Patriots will play back-to-back primetimes games. In 2011, the Patriots beat the New York Jets 37- 16 on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 13 followed by a 34-3 win vs. Kansas City on Monday Night Football. Last season, the Patriots beat Houston, 42-14 on Dec. 10 on Monday Night Football and then lost to San Francisco on Sunday Night Football on Dec. 16. It will be the ninth time under Bill Belichick that the Patriots will play back-to-back Sunday Night football or Monday Night Football games.
Since Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, the Patriots have compiled a regular-season winning record against 30 of their 31 NFL opponents. As of 2013, the Denver Broncos remain the only team since 2000 that does not trail New England in their regular-season series. The Broncos have compiled a 5-5 record in 10 regular-season games against the Patriots in that span.
A victory over Denver this week would guarantee the Patriots a record of .500 or better for the 13 consecutive year. The Patriots are the only team in the NFL to finish with a record of .500 or better in each of the last 12 years (2001-12). Each of the other 31 NFL teams had at least one losing season between 2001 and 2012.
Since the 2010 season, the Patriots are now a combined 24-2 in the second half of the regular season. Since Bill Belichick became Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 84-22 in the second half of the season.
TELEVISION: This week’s game will be broadcast to a national audience by NBC and can be seen in Boston on WHDH-TV Channel 7. Al Michaels will handle play-by-play duties with Cris Collinsworth providing color. Michele Tafoya will serve as the sideline reporter.
NATIONAL RADIO: This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by Westwood One Sports. Kevin Kugler and James Lofton will call the game. Hub Arkush will report from the sidelines.
RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network’s 37 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis.
Denver leads the all-time regular-season series with a 25-18 advantage and is 2-1 in the postseason against New England. In addition to the 2011 postseason win, New England lost a Divisional Playoff game at Denver during the 1986 and 2005 playoffs. Both of those games were played in Denver.
Of the 46 previous games in the series, 27 have been played in Denver. The Patriots have played more games against the Broncos than any other team that has never been in New England’s division. The Patriots are 10-9 all-time against Denver in home games, including 3-2 against Denver at Gillette Stadium.
The history between the teams dates back to the first days of the American Football League in 1960. The Patriots played the Broncos in the inaugural game of each franchise, a 13-10 Denver win on Sept. 9, 1960 at BU Field. The teams squared off twice a year in the decade prior to the AFL-NFL merger, except for 1967 and 1969.
Overall Record ............................... 19-27 (Including 1-2 in playoffs)
Record in New England ............................................................ 10-9
Record in Denver ............................. 9-18 (Including 0-2 in playoffs)
Total Points in the Series ......................... Denver 1071, Patriots 981
Bill Belichick vs. Denver ....................... 6-10 (6-6 with New England)
John Fox vs. New England .............................................. 1-5 overall
In Belichick's first two wins at Denver (10/1/00 and 11/3/03), he took intentional safeties in the second half to help secure the win.
BRADY VS. DENVER
Tom Brady is 3-5 against the Broncos in the regular season and 1-1 against Denver in the postseason following a 2005 AFC Divisional playoff loss in Denver and the 2011 AFC Divisional victory at Gillette Stadium. Denver is the only team that Brady has a losing record against.
BRADY VS. MANNING
Although Manning holds a regular season advantage over Brady in touchdowns, yards and completions, the Patriots have won seven of the 10 regular season games in which the two quarterbacks have faced each other.
Brady and Manning have also faced each other three times in the postseason. The Patriots are 2-1 in those three playoff games with Brady posting a better passer rating (81.7) than Manning (61.0).
New England Ties
- Broncos Offensive Line Coach Dave Magazu is a native of Taunton, Mass. and attended Taunton High School before graduating from Springfield (Mass.) College, where he was a four-year starter as a defensive tackle on the football team. Magazu also served as the offensive line coach at Boston College from 1999-2002.
- Broncos Defensive Backs Coach Corey Undlin worked with the Patriots secondary as a defensive coaching assistant in New England in 2004, earning a Super Bowl ring in his only year with the club.
- Broncos Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell served as a pro scout for the Patriots from 2000-01 and an area scout from 2003-2005, winning three Super Bowls during his time in New England in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
- Broncos National Scout Adam Peters spent six years (2003-08) in the Patriots personnel department as a scouting assistant, area scout, and pro scout and won two Super Bowls with the club in 2003 and 2004.
- Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick spent his fourth season in the NFL in Denver as a defensive assistant and assistant special teams coach in 1978.
- Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels spent two seasons as head coach of the Broncos from 2009-10. After being hired on Jan. 11, 2009, McDaniels won his first six games in Denver and finished the 2009 campaign with an 8-8 record.
- Patriots Special Teams Coach Scott O’Brien spent two years in Denver as special teams coordinator from 2007- 2008 before joining the Patriots in 2009.
- Patriots Assistant Director of Pro Scouting Dave Ziegler spent the previous three seasons in the Broncos scouting department before joining the Patriots this season.
- Patriots T Nate Solder was born in Denver and attended Buena Vista High School in Buena Vista, Colo., located about 120 miles southwest of Denver. He also played at the University of Colorado.
- Broncos WR Wes Welker was named to five Pro Bowls during his six seasons in New England from 2007-12. Welker was traded to the Patriots from the Miami Dolphins in the spring of 2007 and put together five seasons of 100-plus catches and 1000-plus yards. Signed by the Broncos on March 13, 2013, Welker left New England as the Patriots all-time receptions leader with 725.
- Broncos CB Tony Carter spent the 2010 season in New England, joining the 53-man roster in Week 15 after spending the first 14 weeks on the practice squad. Carter was active for two of the team’s final three games.
- Broncos LB Paris Lenon spent the 2009 preseason in New England after being signed by the club on May 27.
- Broncos S Duke Ihenacho and Patriots QB Tom Brady are both natives of San Mateo, Calif. and both attended Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo. Brady graduated in 1995, while Ihenacho graduated 12 years later in 2007.
Former NFL Teammates
- Patriots S Steve Gregory teamed up on defense with Broncos CB Quentin Jammer and Broncos DE Shaun Phillips for six seasons (2006-11) on the San Diego Chargers. Broncos G Louis Vasquez also joined Gregory in San Diego for three seasons (2009-11).
- Broncos S Mike Adams was teammates with Patriots DT Isaac Sopoaga for three seasons (2004-2006) and DE Andre Carter for two seasons (2004-05) on the San Francisco 49ers.
Former College Teammates
- Patriots LB Brandon Spikes was teammates with Broncos WR Andre Caldwell for two seasons (2006-07) at the University of Florida.
- Patriots RB Stevan Ridley and Broncos WR Trindon Holliday teamed up on offense for two seasons (2008- 2009) at LSU.
- Patriots WR Danny Amendola was teammates with Broncos G Manny Ramirez for three seasons (2004- 2006) at Texas Tech.
- Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins and Broncos DE Derek Wolfe were teammates during the 2011 season at the University of Cincinnati.
- Patriots DT Marcus Forston and T Orlando Franklin were teammates for three seasons (2008-2010) at the University of Miami (Fla.).
- Patriots OL Chris Barker was teammates with Broncos TE Virgil Green for two seasons (2009-2010) at the University of Nevada.
PATRIOTS IN SUNDAY NIGHT GAMES
The Patriots are 19-16 all-time on Sunday Night Football. New England is 11-6 at home and 6-4 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday Night Football. The Patriots are 1-0 on Sunday Night Football in 2013 after a 30-23 win at Atlanta on Sept. 29.
QB Tom Brady owns an 11-8 record in 19 games playing on Sunday Night Football. His best statistical performance on Sunday Night Football came in Week 10 of the 2007 season when he completed 31-of-39 pass attempts for 373 yards and five touchdowns, including four to wide receiver Randy Moss, in a 59-10 rout of the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium (11/18).
Brady has thrown for over 300 yards in eight of his last nine Sunday Night games and has thrown three or more touchdowns five times on Sunday night. He also threw for over 400 yards once in a Week 15 Sunday Night contest vs. San Francisco in 2012 when he set a career high with 65 pass attempts (12/16). Brady threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns in his most recent Sunday Night game, a Week 3 win over the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome (9/29).
WHAT TO LOOK FOR AGAINST THE BRONCOS
- Tom Brady (2,552) needs 448 yards to reach 3,000 passing yards for the 11th time in his career. He will become one of just six players with at least 11 3,000 yard passing seasons.
- Julian Edelman needs one more punt return for a touchdown to set the team mark with his fourth punt returned for a touchdown. He is tied with Irving Fryar and Troy Brown with three returns for a touchdown.
- Stephen Gostkowski has 10 field goals of 40 or more yards in 2013. He needs one more field goal of 40 or more yards to tie the Patriots record for most 40-yard field goals in a single season. Adam Vinatieri had 11 field goals of 40 or more yards in 2004 and 1998 and Gostkowski had 11 such field goals in 2012.
- Gostkowski needs to convert one field goal to extend his streak to 20 consecutive field goals. The team record is 23 by Adam Vinatieri in 2004.
- Gostkowski has scored in 101 consecutive games and needs to score in the next game to break a tie with Adam Vinatieri and John Smith for the team’s all-time record with 102 consecutive games scored.
- Gostkowski has scored 98 points and needs two more points to reach 100 points. He has scored at least 100 points in six of his previous seven seasons.
- Chandler Jones has a team-leading 9 ½ sacks and needs a half a sack to register the team’s 15th 10-sack season.
- Chris Jones can add to his 2013 sack total of 5.0, which leads all rookies.
- Stevan Ridley to score a rushing touchdown in his sixth straight game. In 2012, Ridley had a streak of six straight games with at least one rushing touchdown, which is tied for the second longest streak in team history.
- Ridley has 13 20-yard runs and needs one more to have the most for the Patriots since 2000. He is currently tied at 13 with Antowain Smith and Corey Dillon.
- Brandon Spikes leads the team with 91 total tackles and needs nine tackles to secure his second straight 100-tackle season. He had a career-high of 128 total tackles in 2012.
- The Patriots can earn their eighth win of the 2013 season and guarantee to finish the season with a record of .500 or better for the 13th consecutive season.
- A Patriots win and an Oakland loss will give the Patriots a tie for the most wins in the regular season among the original AFL teams. Oakland has 434 wins, while the Patriots have 433.