|Television:||This week's game will be broadcast regionally on CBS (locally on WBZ Channel 4 in Boston). Verne Lundquist will provide play-by-play detail alongside broadcast partner Dan Dierdorf. Bonnie Bernstein will report from the sidelines.|
|Radio:||WBCN's Rock Radio Network 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, the voice of the Patriots, will call all the action along with Gino Cappelletti, his broadcast partner for 16 years.|
The New England Patriots (4-2) will host the two-time defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos (2-4) this week with hopes of snapping their current two game losing streak. After opening the season 4-0, the Patriots have suffered two disappointing losses by a combined total of three points. Conversely, the Broncos opened the season 0-4, yet have claimed victories the last two weeks, including a decisive 31-10 triumph over the Green Bay Packers last week.
The Broncos have dominated this series for the better part of two decades and enter this week's game boasting an 11-game win streak, which began in 1984. The last Patriots victory was a 23-14 decision in Foxboro in 1980. The series began in 1960 when the Boston Patriots hosted the Denver Broncos in the AFL's first regular season game on Sept. 9, 1960. The Broncos won the game 13-10.
During the past decade, most of the games in the series have been blowouts by the Broncos. From 1991-1997, the Broncos outscored the Patriots 134-33 in five games. That trend may be nearing an end, however. Last year, the Patriots traveled to Denver for the season opener and stood toe-to-toe with the defending champions, but had a field goal blocked and another sail wide right, which proved to be the difference in the 27-21 decision. If this season is any indication, expect a close game this week. Five of the Patriots' first six games have been decided by three points or less. The Patriots are 3-2 in those games. The only game that wasn't decided by a field goal or less was a 12-point victory over the Cleveland Browns.
The Patriots opened the season with two come-from-behind, last-second victories over the Jets (30-28 with :03 remaining) and Indianapolis (31-28 with 0:35 remaining) with game-winning field goals provided by Adam Vinatieri. They had chances to add to that total the last two weeks, but had a would-be game winning kick carom off the upright at Kansas City. Last week, the Patriots held a 30-25 lead over the Dolphins until Stanley Pritchett scored on a 5-yard pass with just 23 seconds remaining in the game. They failed to advance the ball deep enough to attempt the game-winning kick, settling instead for an attempted Hail Mary toss from their own 41-yard line, which fell incomplete as time expired.
On his 22nd pass attempt of last week's game against the Dolphins, Drew Bledsoe (3,594) moved ahead of Steve Grogan (3,593) as the team's all-time leading passer (attempts). Now in his seventh season, Bledsoe is the franchise's all-time leader in attempts and completions. Last year, he became the Patriots' all-time completion leader, moving past Grogan (1,879) in his final regular season game.
Bledsoe currently ranks second on the Patriots' all-time touchdown list with 137 scoring passes and also ranks second with 23,580 passing yards.
The New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos will meet for the 34th time this Sunday. The Broncos hold a 20-12 advantage over the Patriots and a 1-0 record in the post season.
The Broncos won the first two meetings of the series, while the Patriots won the next four, their longest streak of the series. Denver currently holds an 11-game winning streak, the longest of any team against the Patriots.
The Denver Broncos own the longest current winning streak against the Patriots, 11 games. The last time the Patriots defeated the Broncos was on Sept. 29, 1980, 23-14 at Sullivan Stadium. Conversely, the Patriots longest current winning streak is against the San Diego Chargers, who have lost nine times in a row versus New England.
The Patriots series with the Broncos has produced six 100-yard rushing performances, six 100-yard reception performances and two 300-yard passing performances. Unfortunately, no Patriot has reached one of these milestones in this series this decade.
The New England Patriots opened last season against the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium and were dealt a disappointing 27-21 defeat. Denver made the most of every scoring opportunity, including field goals from 53 and 42 yards out. Conversely, the Patriots failed to convert their two field goal attempts, as one sailed wide right and the other was blocked, which proved to be the difference in the game.
The Broncos built an early 17-0 lead, scoring on three of their first four possessions. The Patriots battled back with a seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive late in the second quarter, highlighted by a 55-yard completion from Drew Bledsoe to wide receiver Shawn Jefferson. It was Jefferson's third-longest reception of his career and put the Patriots on the 1-yard line to set up Robert Edwards' first career rushing touchdown two plays later.
The Patriots pulled to within three, 17-14, on the opening possession of the third quarter when Bledsoe connected with wide receiver Troy Brown for a 24-yard scoring strike. The Broncos built a 27-14 lead on a 42-yard field goal by Jason Elam and a 1-yard touchdown run by Terrell Davis in the fourth quarter. Once again, the Patriots fought back, answering with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Bledsoe to Brisby with just 1:59 remaining in the game. An onside kick attempt was recovered by the Broncos, who then ran out the clock to secure the victory.
|New England Patriots||4||2||0||.667|
|New York Jets||1||5||0||.167|