The AFC East-leading Patriots will travel to Denver to face the AFC Westleading Broncos this week in their fourth consecutive game against a defending division champion. This week's game will conclude a stretch of four road games in five weeks – all coming against teams with records of .500 or better – and will also finish a run of four straight games against 2004 playoff teams. Following this week's contest, the Patriots will enter their bye week before returning to action with their AFC East opener against Buffalo on Oct. 30 in Foxborough. But if they want to enjoy their bye week, the Patriots will first need to concentrate all of their energy on the Broncos, their third consecutive opponent with a running game ranked in the NFL's top three. Denver's two-pronged running attack, featuring Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell, is ranked third in the NFL averaging nearly 150 yards per game. The Broncos have won four consecutive games and have been victorious in five straight games at Invesco Field dating back to last season.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be televised to a regional audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ Channel 4. CBS' number one broadcasting crew will produce the game for the fourth consecutive week. Jim Nantz will handle playby- play duties and will be joined by analyst Phil Simms. Bonnie Bernstein will provide sideline reports throughout the game.
RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found in this press release. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 29th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 22nd season as a broadcast tandem.
The Patriots and Broncos will play for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons and for the 38th time overall. New England has won three of the last five meetings in the series dating back to 1999. The teams last played on Nov. 3, 2003, and the Patriots came away with a 30- 26 victory on Monday Night Football. New England has won two of the last three games it has played in Denver. The Patriots' recent run of success against Denver comes on the heels of a 10- game losing streak to the Broncos from 1984-98. 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 B.U. Field. The teams squared off twice a year in the decade prior to the AFL-NFL merger, with the Patriots taking a 10-7 advantage out of those games.
- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was an assistant special teams coach and an assistant to the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in 1978. While Belichick was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns he hired Jacob Burney as a defensive line coach. Burney is currently the defensive line/ends coach for the Broncos.
- Patriots tight end Daniel Grahamwas raised in Denver. His father, Tom, played three seasons for the Broncos. Graham played his high school football at Thomas Jefferson High in Denver and played his college football for the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo.
- Patriots tackle Tom Ashworth was born in Denver and played football and baseball at Cherry Creek High in Englewood, Colo., a suburb of Denver. He played his college football at the University of Colorado.
- Patriots linebacker Chad Brown was a four-year starter at the University of Colorado, where he was a two-time firstteam All-Big Eight Conference selection. Brown and his family have a permanent home in Lone Tree, Colo., a suburb just south of Denver.
- Patriots tight end Christian Fauria played at the University of Colorado, where he had 98 receptions, 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns and was team captain as a senior. He set the Big Eight conference record for career receptions by a tight end.
- Patriots cornerback Tyrone Poole signed with the Broncos in 2001 and played in all 16 games at cornerback (with four starts) for the Broncos in 2002.
- Broncos wide receiver David Terrell was with the Patriots for 2005 training camp and was a teammate of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at the University of Michigan in 1998 and 1999.
- Broncos center Tom Nalen was born in Foxborough, Mass., attended Foxboro High and attended Boston College.
- Broncos cornerback Lenny Walls played his college football at Boston College.
- Patriots center Dan Koppen played one year behind Broncos cornerbackLenny Walls at Boston College.
- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Broncos linebacker Ian Gold were four-year teammates at the University of Michigan.
- Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour, Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson and Patriots fullback Patrick Pass were all teammates of Broncos tackle George Foster at the University of Georgia.
- Patriots cornerback Tyrone Poole and Broncos guard Steve Herndon are both from LaGrange, Ga.
- Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest and Broncos safety Marques Anderson both attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, Calif.
- Patriots assistant secondary coach Joel Collier's father, Joe Collier, was an assistant coach for the Broncos for 20 seasons from 1969-1988. Joel Collier served as a ballboy for the Broncos while growing up and went on to attend Northern Colorado University, where he was a three-year starter at inside linebacker.
- Patriots tight ends coach Pete Mangurian was an assistant coach for the Broncos for five seasons from 1988- 92. He served as Denver's tight ends/H-Backs coach (1988- 90) and also as the Broncos' offensive line coach (1991-92).
- Broncos defensive line/tackles coach Andre Patterson was a defensive assistant for the Patriots in 1997.
- Patriots special teams coach Brad Seely was a graduate assistant at Colorado State in 1979 and served as the Rams' offensive line coach in 1980. Seely also served on the New York Jets coaching staff in 1994 with Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer.
Going in Strong
Since 1996, the Patriots have compiled a 7-2 record in the week immediately preceding their bye. New England has won two straight and three of its last four pre-bye contests. Last season, the Patriots entered the bye week following a 23-12 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 19. This season marks the second time in three years that the Patriots will have a bye week following a trip to Denver. In 2003, New England had a bye following a 30-26 victory over the Broncos in the Mile High City on Nov. 3, 2003.
The number of yards needed by Troy Brown to pass Irving Fryar (5,726 yards) for second place on the Patriots' all-time receiving yardage list. Brown enters this week's game with 5,724 career receiving yards.
The number of points needed by kicker Adam Vinatieri to become the Patriots' all-time leading scorer. His current career total is 1,092 points. Gino Cappelletti (1960-70) holds the franchise record with 1,130 points.
The number of sacks needed by Willie McGinest to pass Julius Adams (79.5 sacks) for second place on the team's all-time sacks list.
The number of receptions Kevin Faulk needs to pass Tony Collins (261) for the most receptions by a running back in Patriots history.
The number of receiving yards needed by Faulk to reach 2,000 for his career. He could become just the third running back in Patriots history to achieve the milestone (Larry Garron, 2,502 and Tony Collins, 2,356).
Against Atlanta on Oct. 9, the Patriots had a 100-yard rusher, a 100-yard receiver and a 300-yard passer in the same game for the first time in eight years. Prior to achieving the feat against the Falcons, the last time the Patriots did it was on Nov. 2, 1997, when Curtis Martin ran for 104 yards, Shawn Jefferson caught for 108 yards and Drew Bledsoe threw for 313 yards in the Patriots' 23-18 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. Against the Falcons, the Patriots' milestone men were Corey Dillon (106 rushing yards), Daniel Graham (119 receiving yards), Deion Branch (107 receiving yards) and Tom Brady (350 passing yards).
The Belichick Era
Bill Belichick's overall record as head coach of the Patriots, including the regular season and the playoffs.
Belichick's record with New England when his team scores 25 points or more.
Belichick's record with New England when his team scores 21 points or more.