PATRIOTS (7-3) vs. BRONCOS (9-1)
Today, 8:30 p.m., at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro
TV: Ch. 7 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya)
Radio: 98.5 FM The Sports Hub (Bob Socci and Scott Zolak)
The series: Denver leads the series overall at 27-19, but the Pats have won four of the last six. Last meeting: Patriots 31, Broncos 21; Oct. 7, 2012 at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro Latest line: Broncos -2.5; Over/under total: 56
2013 STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
7-3 Record 9-1
1st, AFC East Standings Tie 1st, AFC West
364.0 (11) Offense 455.5 (1)
126.9 (9) Rushing 105.1 (20)
237.1 (16) Passing 350.4 (1)
354.9 (20) Defense 371.8 (23)
125.7 (27) Rushing 92.7 (4)
229.2 (12) Passing 279.1 (28)
+7 Turnover margin -2
BY THE NUMBERS
0 — Times since the 2005 season that the Patriots have been underdogs against the Las Vegas line in a game at Gillette Stadium. That streak ends today with Denver -2.5.
5 — Fumbles this season by Tom Brady, only he has lost just one of those five. Compare that to Stevan Ridley, who has lost all three of his fumbles this year.
7 — 12-win seasons for Tom Brady, second overall in NFL history to, yes you guessed it, Peyton Manning, who has nine.
2 — Fumbles this year by Denver’s prized rookie halfback Montee Ball, who is finding trouble getting on the field. Ball has run for only 222 yards, and starter Knowshon Moreno leads the way with 600 yards on the year.
10 — Touchdown catches this year by one of the game’s best-kept secrets, Denver tight end Julius Thomas, who is questionable for tonight’s game. He has already tied the team mark for a season set by Shannon Sharpe.
13 — The Broncos might only be a mediocre -2 in turnover margin, but they get them when they matter most. Denver has forced 13 turnovers in the fourth quarter, where it is also a +6 over that frame. By the way, Denver has outscored the opposition by 161 points in the second half.
Keys for the Patriots
1. Ball control to major Tom — Ridley, Vereen, Blount, it really doesn’t matter. The Pats have to slow the pace and keep Peyton Manning off the field.