The New England Patriots will face the Denver Broncos this week in a rematch of the 2013 AFC Championship Game. In last year's regular-season matchup, the Patriots came back from a 24-0 halftime deficit to defeat the Broncos, 34-31, in overtime in a Sunday Night game on Nov. 24, at Gillette Stadium, marking the largest comeback win in team history. However, the Broncos beat the Patriots, 26-16, in the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 19, 2014, to advance to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots enter this week with 33 straight regular-season wins at home against AFC opponents, the longest streak in NFL history (following the merger in 1970). The Miami Dolphins have the second longest streak with 21 straight home conference wins (1971- 1974). The Patriots last loss at home against an AFC opponent was a 33-10 defeat to Pittsburgh on Nov. 30, 2008. Additionally, Tom Brady has won 41 straight regular-season home games against the AFC.
Tom Brady will make his 200th regular-season start this week. He enters this week with 154 career wins and a 155th win in his first 200 career starts will be the most in NFL history. Peyton Manning is second in NFL history with 136 wins in his first 200 starts.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZTV Channel 4 in Boston. Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties with Phil Simms as the color analyst. Tracy Wolfson will work from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Lance Barrow and directed by Mike Arnold.
NATIONAL RADIO:** This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by Sports USA. Larry Kahn and Doug Plank will call the game with Troy West as the sideline reporter.
LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis.
BRADY TO MAKE 200TH CAREER START
Tom Brady is scheduled to make his 200th career regular-season start this Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Brady has 154 career regular-season wins and will aim for his 155th win in his first 200 starts.
That mark will be the most wins in a player's first 200 starts. Denver's Peyton Manning is second with 136 victories in his first 200 starts. Brady will join seven other NFL quarterbacks that have made 200 career regular-season starts: Brett Favre (298), Peyton Manning (247), Dan Marino (240), Fran Tarkenton (239), John Elway (231), Vinny Testaverde (214) and Warren Moon (203).
The Patriots and Broncos will meet for the 49th time overall in a rematch of the 2013 AFC Championship Game, a 26-16 Broncos win in Denver on Jan. 19, 2014.
The New England Patriots take on the Denver Broncos in a regular season game at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, November 24, 2013.
The teams have met in the regular season in each of the last three years, with the Patriots winning all three games. The teams met twice in 2011 and 2013 with a Divisional Playoff game in 2011 and the AFC Championship Game meeting in 2013.
The Patriots and Broncos have played in 44 regular-season games with Denver holding a 25-19 edge and four postseason games with Denver in front, 3-1. The Patriots and Broncos played twice in 2013 with the Patriots winning, 34- 31, in overtime on Nov. 24 at Gillette Stadium before losing in the AFC title game. The Patriots came back from a 24-point deficit to beat the Broncos, 34- 31, in overtime in a Sunday Night Football game in the 2013 regular season meeting, the greatest comeback in team history.
The Patriots and Broncos have played in three Divisional Playoff games in addition to the 2013 AFC Championship Game. New England's one postseason victory was in the 2011 playoffs at Gillette Stadium.
Of the 48 previous games in the series, 28 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 11-9 all-time against Denver in home games, including 4-2 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.
SERIES BREAKDOWN (Including Playoffs)
- Overall Record, 20-28 (Including 1-3 in playoffs)
- Record in New England, 11-9
- Record in Denver, 9-19 (Including 0-3 in playoffs)
- Total Points in the Series, Denver 1,108, Patriots 1,031
- Bill Belichick vs. Denver, 7-11 (7-7 with New England)
- John Fox vs. New England, 2-6 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 4-5 against the Broncos in the regular season and 1-2 against Denver in the postseason following a 2005 AFC Divisional playoff loss in Denver, the 2011 AFC Divisional victory at Gillette Stadium and the 2013 AFC Championship Game. Denver is the only team that Brady has a losing record against.
BRADY VS. MANNING
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have had many epic games against each other over the course of their careers. This week's game will be the third overall Brady-Manning game since Peyton Manning's departure from the Indianapolis Colts. Despite playing in separate divisions following the 2002 NFL division reformatting, the Patriots and the Colts played each other an astounding 17 times since 2001 overall. With the exception of the 2011 regular season matchup—a game which Peyton Manning missed due to a neck injury—and the 2008 regular season game that Tom Brady missed following an ACL tear, Brady and Manning have started at quarterback for their respective teams in every game dating back to Sept. 30, 2001. Sunday's game between the Patriots and the Broncos will mark the 16th time that Brady and Manning have started opposite one another.
Although Manning holds a regular-season advantage over Brady in touchdowns, yards and completions, the Patriots have won eight of the 11 regular season games in which the two quarterbacks have faced each other.
Brady and Manning have also faced each other four times in the postseason. The Patriots are 2-2 in those four playoff games with Brady posting a better passer rating (85.1) than Manning (74.8).
NEW ENGLAND TIES
- Broncos DT Terrance Knighton was born in Hartford, Conn., and attended Windsor (Conn.) HS, where he was a two-year letterman at defensive end and tight end, earning all-state honors as a junior.
- Broncos offensive line coach Dave Magazu attended Taunton (Mass.) HS and was a four-year starter on the defensive line at Springfield (Mass.) College. Magazu later coached the offensive line at Boston College from 1999-2002.
- Broncos C Will Montgomery was born in Brunswick, Maine.
Patriots OL Nate Solder attended Buena Vista (Colo.) HS, where he was a standout tight end and middle linebacker. He also lettered three times in basketball, averaging 15 points and eight rebounds as a senior when the team won the league and district championships. He lettered twice in baseball at BVHS, playing first base and pitching. In addition to his athletic achievements, Solder boasted a 3.93 grade point average as a member of the National Honor Society, and some of his paintings and sculptures earned all-state honors. He went on to play collegiately at the University of Colorado, where he moved from tight end to tackle as a sophomore after adding 30 pounds of bulk. Solder was elected team captain for his final two seasons, earning first-team All- Big 12 honors as a junior and consensus first-team All-American honors as a senior. He was also a finalist for the Outland Trophy (best offensive lineman) and the William V. Campbell Trophy (considered the Academic Heisman) as a senior in 2010.
* Patriots assistant strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera served in the same position at the University of Colorado in 2010.
- Broncos WR Wes Welker was acquired by the Patriots from Miami in a trade on March 5, 2007. Welker set an all-time franchise record with 672 receptions for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns in 93 games for New England from 2007-12, earning Pro Bowl honors five straight seasons from 2008-12. He led the league in receptions three times (2007, 09, 11) while with the Patriots, and he owns the top five spots on New England's single-season receptions list. Other Patriots franchise records held or co-held by Welker include single-game receptions (16), single-game receiving yards (217), single-season receiving yards (1,569 in 2011), longest reception (99t) and most 1,000-yard receiving seasons (5).
- Broncos CB Aqib Talib was acquired by the Patriots from Tampa Bay in a trade on Nov. 1, 2012. He started 13 games in his first and only full season with the club in 2013, compiling 41 tackles, four interceptions, 14 passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery en route to earning his first Pro Bowl nod.
- Broncos CB Tony Carter was signed by New England to the practice squad on Sept. 7, 2010 and spent the first 13 games of the season on the practice squad before being signed to the active roster on Dec. 18, 2010. Carter played in two games for the Patriots and posted one tackle.
- Broncos secondary coach Cory Undlin was a defensive coaching assistant for the Patriots during their Super Bowl XXXVIII-winning campaign in 2004.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick served as assistant special teams/ assistant to the defensive coordinator for the Broncos in 1978, when the team went 10-6 and won the AFC West.
* Patriots offensive coordinator / quarterbacks Josh McDaniels was head coach of the Broncos from 2009-10.
* Patriots CB Brandon Browner was originally signed by the Broncos as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2005, but was placed on injured reserve with an arm injury during training camp.
* Patriots DT Sealver Siliga spent the entire 2011 season on the Broncos practice squad and then spent the entire 2012 season on the Broncos active roster, appearing in one game and recording one tackle. On Aug. 20, 2013, he was traded by Denver to Seattle in exchange for OL John Moffitt.
* Patriots special teams coach Scott O'Brien was the special teams coach for the Broncos from 2007-08.
FORMER NFL TEAMMATES
- Patriots special teams coach Scott O'Brien was Carolina's assistant head coach/special teams from 2002-04, when Broncos head coach John Fox was the Panthers head coach. Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was the defensive coordinator in Carolina in 2002 – the lone season all three coached together. O'Brien also coached special teams at the University of Pittsburgh while Fox was the defensive coordinator/secondary from 1987-88.
- Patriots WR Danny Amendola spent the entire regular season on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad in 2008, when Broncos DE Demarcus Ware established career highs in Dallas with 69 solo tackles, 20 sacks (eighth highest single-season total in NFL history) and six forced fumbles.
- Patriots CB Darrelle Revis and Broncos C Will Montgomery were teammates on the New York Jets in 2007.
- Patriots defensive assistant Brendan Daly (defensive line) and Broncos assistant special teams coach Derius Swinton (quality control/special teams) coached together on the St. Louis Rams staff from 2009-11. Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks Josh McDaniels joined the Rams staff in 2011 as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks.
- Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears (wide receivers) and Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville (offensive quality control) coached together on the Chicago Bears staff from 1997-98.
FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES
- Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks Josh McDaniels, tight ends coach Brian Daboll and Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase were assistants on the Michigan State coaching staff in 1999. McDaniels and Daboll were graduate assistants while Gase was in his senior year as a student at the university. All three were roommates in East Lansing, Mich. during the summer of 1999.
- Patriots RB James White and Broncos RB Montee Ball played together in the backfield for Wisconsin from 2010-12. The pair was a productive onetwo punch for the Badgers as each put up big numbers. Over those three seasons, White rushed 422 times for 2,571 yards (6.1 avg.) and 32 touchdowns, while Ball carried 826 times for 4,749 yards (5.7 avg.) and 73 touchdowns.
- Patriots S Patrick Chung and Broncos S T.J. Ward played together in the secondary for Oregon from 2005-08.
- Patriots LB Akeem Ayers and Broncos S Rahim Moore are both Los Angeles, Calif. natives who were also defensive teammates at UCLA from 2008-10.
- Patriots DL Casey Walker and Broncos LB Corey Nelson were defensive teammates at Oklahoma from 2010-13. Broncos S Quinton Carter also played alongside Walker for the Sooners in 2009 and alongside both Walker and Nelson in 2010.