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Patriots travel to Denver to face Broncos

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-3) at DENVER BRONCOS (8-5)
Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.
* Sports Authority Field at Mile High (76,125)*

The New England Patriots will aim to extend their five-game winning streak this week when they travel to Denver to face the Broncos. While New England has a five-game winnings streak, Denver has a six-game winning streak. After beginning the year 1-4, the Broncos have won six-straight to improve to an 8-5 record and are in first place in the AFC West.

New England will be looking to qualify for the playoffs for the 19th time in its 52 year history with a victory this week. It would mark the Patriots' 13th playoff berth in the 18 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total berths the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. The Patriots will clinch the AFC East if any of the following happen: 1.) a win over Denver; 2). a tie against Denver and a Jets loss or tie; 3.) a Jets loss.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties with Phil Simms providing color. 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 Westwood One Radio Sports. Howard David and Tony Boselli will call the game.

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 Gil Santos is in his 35th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Scott Zolak will provide sideline analysis.

SERIES HISTORY

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The Patriots and Broncos will meet for the 44th time in series history and for the 14th time in the last 17 years. The Broncos have won five of the last seven regular-season and playoff contests. The last time the teams played was on Oct. 11, 2009 with Denver overcoming a 17-7 halftime defecit for a 20-17 overtime win at Invesco Field.

The Broncos own a 27-16 advantage in the series, including a 2-0 mark in the playoffs. New England lost a Divisional playoff game at Denver during the 1986 and 2005 playoffs. Of the 43 previous games in the series, 26 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 1-4 all time at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, including the postseason.

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.

SERIES BREAKDOWN
* (Including Playoffs)*

  • Overall Record, 16-27 (Including 0-2 in playoffs)
  • Record in New England, 8-9
  • Record in Denver, 8-18 (Including 0-2 in playoffs)
  • Total Points in the Series, Denver 997, Patriots 864
  • Bill Belichick vs. Denver, 3-10 (3-6 with New England)
  • John Fox vs. New England, 1-2 overall

QUICK HITS

  • The Broncos are the only team the Patriots have lost to twice in the playoffs (1986 and 2005). New England's 13 other playoff losses have been to 13 different clubs.
  • In Belichick's only two wins at Denver (10/1/00 and 11/3/03) he took intentional safeties in the second half to help secure the win.
  • K Stephen Gostkowski's longest field goal was a 53-yarder at Denver on Oct. 11, 2009.
    BRADY VS. DENVER
    Tom Brady is 1-5 against the Broncos in the regular season and 0-1 against Denver in the postseason following a 2005 AFC Divisional playoff loss in Denver. Denver is the only team that Brady has a losing record against.

CONNECTIONS

**

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New England Ties**

  • Denver offensive line coach Dave Magazu attended Springfield College, Mass. 1976-80, where he played defensive line. Prior to joining the NFL, Magazu was the offensive line coach at Boston College from 1999-02.
    Denver, Colo. Ties
  • Rookie T Nate Solder, drafted in the 1st round (17 overall) in the 2011 draft, attended the University of Colorado. Solder originally was brought in to play tight end for Colorado before eventually switching over to the tackle position. He is from Buena Vista, Colo.
    Former Patriots
  • LS Lonie Paxton signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2000 and remained with the organization until 2008. He is known for his snow angel after former K Adam Vinatieri kicked a game winning field goal in overtime to send the Patriots to the 2001 AFC Championship game.
  • DT Ty Warren was drafted by the Patriots in the 1st round (13th overall) in the 2003 draft. Warren, who recorded 20.5 sacks with New England, was a staple on the Patriots defensive line until his final season in 2010.
  • G Russ Hochstein was an offensive lineman and special teams member for the Patriots from 2002-08.
  • DB Jonathan Wilhite played with the Patriots from 2008- 10 and recorded three interceptions in 15 starts for New England.
    Former Teammates
  • G Donald Thomas played with P Britton Colquitt for eight days in Miami during the 2009 season. Colquitt was signed by the Dolphins on Dec. 22, 2009 and then was signed to the Denver Broncos active roster on Dec. 30.
  • WR Chad Ochocinco teamed up with WR Quan Cosby in Cincinnati from 2009-10. With the Bengals, Cosby was the teams kick and punt returner.
  • LB Tracy White, S Brian Dawkins, and LB Joe Mays played on the same side of the ball in Philadelphia from 2008-09.
  • DB Andre Goodman played in Miami from 2006-08 and played one season each with WR Wes Welker (2006), LB Rob Ninkovich (2007), and G Donald Thomas (2008).
  • DE Mark Anderson played with DB Chris Harris for the Chicago Bears during the 2006 season.
  • DE Andre Carter was teammates with RB Jeremiah Johnson in Washington for one day during the 2010 season. Johnson was signed to the Redskins practice squad Oct. 26 and released the following day.
  • LB Rob Ninkovich played with K Matt Prater in Miami during the 2007 season.
  • G Donald Thomas protected the quarterback with G Manny Ramirez for the Detroit Lions in 2010.
  • S James Ihedigbo and RB Xavier Omon were teammates for 10 days in New York with the Jets during the 2010 season.
  • WR Wes Welker played two seasons with DT Kevin Vickerson in Miami from 2005-06.
    Former Broncos
  • Head Coach Bill Belichick was the assistant special teams/assistant to the defensive coordinator for the Broncos during the 1978 season.
  • Special teams coach, Scott O'Brien, was the special teams' coordinator for the Denver Broncos (2007-08)
    Former College Teammate
  • LB Jerod Mayo, P Britton Colquitt, and DE Robert Ayers went to the University of Tennessee and played together from 2005-07.
  • LB Gary Guyton and WR Demaryius Thomas were teammates during Guyton's final season with Georgia Tech.
  • S Sergio Brown and S David Bruton played together from 2006-09 at Notre Dame.
  • LB Brandon Spikes, TE Aaron Hernandez, LB Jermaine Cunningham, and QB Tim Tebow were teammates at Florida and were all crucial to the team winning the BCS National Championship in 2009.
  • DT Vince Wilfork and LB D.J. Williams played for the Miami Hurricanes from 2001-03.
  • WR Matthew Slater played with WR Matthew Willis at UCLA. Slater and Willis played for the Bruins from 2004-07. QB Brian Hoyer and WR Mark Dell made a great duo for two seasons at Michigan State (2007-08). Dell caught 56 passes for 899 yards and 5 touchdowns from Hoyer over the QB's junior and senior season.
  • RB Shane Vereen played with DB Syd'Quan Thompson at the University of California from 2007-09.
  • RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis and DB Cassius Vaughn played together at the University of Mississippi for one season.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

BY THE NUMBERS

**

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2**
The number of interceptions by Vince Wilfork in 2011. Anthony Pleasant (2001) is the only other Patriots defensive lineman to record two interceptions in the same season.

2
The number of punts returned by Julian Edelman for touchdowns during his career, the fourth Patriots' player with two or more punt returns for a touchdown.

3
The number of NFL players with four 100-reception seasons after Wes Welker reached 100 receptions in 2011 to join Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison.

7
The number of interceptions by Kyle Arrington to put him in a three-way tie for the NFL lead in 2011.

8
The number of times in NFL history a player reached 1,000 yards in the ninth game of the season after Wes Welker reached the milestone.

10.0
The number of sacks by Andre Carter in 2011 for his fourth career 10-plus sack season.

15
The number of touchdown catches by TE Rob Gronkowski, the most in NFL history by a tight end in a single season.

16
The number of total touchdown by TE Rob Gronkowski in 2011 (15 rec. and 1 rush.) the highest number of combined touchdowns by a tight end in NFL history.

25
The number of touchdown receptions by Rob Gronkowski since 2010, the most among all NFL tight ends.

20
The number of 10-tackle games by LB Jerod Mayo after he finished with a team-high 11 total tackles vs. Kansas City (11/21/11).

26
The number of games it took Rob Gronkowski to reach 20 touchdowns, the fewest games among tight ends in NFL history.

34
The number of consecutive fourth quarter field goals made by Stephen Gostkowski, the most since the statistic was first tracked in 1991.

155
The number of receiving yards that Wes Welker (1,339) needs in 2011 to set the franchise record. Randy Moss had 1,493 yards in 2007.

622
The number of total yards by the Patriots in the win at Miami in the season opener, a franchise record. The previous best was 619 yards vs. Tennessee (10/18/09).

TOM BRADY BY THE NUMBERS

1
Tom Brady became the first player to follow a 500-yard performance with a 400-yard performance after Brady had backto- back games with 517 yards and 423 yards.

2
Brady joins Drew Brees (2011) as the only players to reach 3,000 yards in the first nine games of the season. Brady (3,032) had the most yards ever through the first nine games of the year.

4
The number of times that Brady has thrown a game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute of the game to turn a deficit into a Patriots win after a final-minute touchdown vs. Dallas (10/16), including the postseason.

4
The number of seasons that Brady has reached 4,000 passing yards. His four 4,000 yard seasons are tied with Warren Moon for the fifth most in NFL history.

6
Brady became the sixth NFL quarterback in NFL history to have 30 or more touchdowns passes in at least three seasons after reaching 30 vs. Indianapolis (12/4).

11
Tom Brady was the 11th quarterback in NFL history to throw for 500 or more yards after he passed Brady for 517 in the 2011 opener at Miami.

19
The number of times Tom Brady has earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He earned the award in each of the first two weeks of the 2011 season.

42
The number of regular season 300-yard passing games by Tom Brady, a team record.

94
The number of times that Brady has thrown two or more touchdowns in a game. The Patriots are 79-15 when he throws for two or more touchdowns.

121
The number of wins that Brady has as a starting quarterback. He reached the 100-win milestone in the fewest number of starts (131) among all quarterbacks in the modern era.

1,327
The number of passing yards Brady had in the first three games (517, 423 and 387) of 2011. Brady's 1,327 yards set the NFL mark for the most passing yards ever in a three-game stretch.

THE KRAFT ERA

3
The number of Super Bowl championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Only Denver (2; 1997 and 1998) and Pittsburgh (2; 2005 and 2008) have won multiple Super Bowl titles since 1994.

5
The number of conference championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh is second with three conference titles since 1994.

10
The number of division championships won by the Patriots since Kraft purchased the team in 1994.

12
The number of playoff seasons earned by the Patriots in the 17 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team.

17
The number of playoff games the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh ranks second with 15 playoff wins over that span.

26
The number of playoff games the Patriots have appeared in since 1994. The mark is tied with Pittsburgh for the most playoff games during that time period.

THE BELICHICK ERA

4
Bill Belichick is one of just four coaches to win three championships since the Super Bowl era began. Belichick joins three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the exclusive club (Chuck Noll 4, Joe Gibbs 3 and Bill Walsh 3). Belichick is the only coach to win three Super Bowls in the post-1993 salary cap era and the only one to ever win three in four years.

187
Bill Belichick has 187 career victories as a head coach, including playoff games. Belichick moved past Bill Parcells into sole possession of ninth place in all-time coaching victories. Chuck Knox is in 8th place with 193 wins.

PATRIOTS WIN GAME NUMBER 10
New England's 34-27 win over Washington last Sunday was the Patriots' 10th win in 2011. New England has now won 10 or more games 10 times in the last 11 seasons and for the ninth straight season. New England has reached 10 regular-season wins for the ninth consecutive season, joining San Francisco (16) and Indianapolis (9) as the only teams to accomplish the feat.

BELICHICK BECOMES FIRST COACH WITH NINE STRAIGHT SEASONS OF 10 WINS
Bill Belichick is the first coach in NFL history with nine straight seasons with at least 10 victories after guiding the Patriots to nine 10-plus seasons from 2003 through 2011.

TWO PATRIOTS REACH 1,000 YARDS
Wes Welker (1,339) and Rob Gronkowski (1,088) are both over 1,000 yards. It is the fifth time in team history that New England has two players over 1,000 receiving yards. Welker and Randy Moss had three straight seasons with 1,000 yards (2007-09). They became the sixth group of NFL teammates to have three straight 1,000 yard seasons. The Patriots also had two receivers reach 1,000 yards in 1979.

PATRIOTS ON POINT
The Patriots are averaging 30.5 points per game in 2011. That average ranks third all-time in team history.

HIGHEST AVG. POINTS PER GAME BY THE PATRIOTS
36.8 in 2007
32.4 in 2010
29.5 in 1961

WHAT'S THE POINT?
The Patriots enter this week's game ranked 14th in the NFL on defense by allowing an average of 21.1 points per game. The Patriots have finished in the top 10 in points allowed on defense for the past five seasons and in 8 of the last 10 years. Under Belichick, the Patriots have never finished worse that 17th among the 32 teams in points allowed.

TOP OFFENSE
The Patriots offense is currently ranked second in the NFL in total yards. The Patriots offense has finished in the top 10 four straight seasons. Since the 1970 merger, the Patriots offense has finished in the top 10 15 times, including six times under Bill Belichick.

PATRIOTS DEDICATE 2011 SEASON TO MYRA KRAFT
The Patriots have dedicated the 2011 season to the loving memory of Myra Kraft, who passed away on July 20 after a courageous battle with cancer. Every Patriots player and coach are honoring Myra's memory by wearing a patch with her initials on it in recognition of her lifelong contributions to the local and global philanthropic community and her influence on the charitable mission of the entire Patriots organization. The patch will be worn on the left chest of every player throughout the season.

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