When the Denver Broncos (9-1) square off against the New England Patriots (7-3) in Week 12, the Sunday Night Football featured matchup will captivate the league and showcase what could be an AFC Championship preview.
Led by two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, the real test will be whether Tom Brady and the Patriots will be able to keep up with Peyton Manning and the high-powered Broncos offensive unit.
New England has played inconsistently all season. If the franchise wants to beat Denver Sunday night, Brady and the offense must develop a rhythm early while the defensive unit manages to put a stop to the Broncos’ potent air attack.
Here is all the vital information every fan needs to enjoy this matchup.
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
When: Sunday, Nov. 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Listen: Online at NFL Audio Pass
Betting Line (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 54
- Spread: New England (+2.5)
Broncos Injury Report (via ESPN)
Rahim Moore, S, Out (leg)
Wes Welker, WR, Questionable (concussion)
Julius Thomas, TE, Questionable (knee)
Champ Bailey, CB, Questionable (foot)
Joel Dreessen, TE, Questionable (knee)
Peyton Manning, QB, Probable (ankle)
Patriots Injury Report (via ESPN)
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Doubtful (knee)
Steve Gregory, S, Questionable (thumb)
Leon Washington, RB, Questionable (ankle)
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Questionable (hamstring/back/forearm)
Aqib Talib, CB, Questionable (hip)
Danny Amendola, WR, Questionable (groin)
Shane Vereen, RB, Probable (wrist)
Top Storyline: Heavyweight Bout Between Manning and Brady
There is no denying the impact both Manning and Brady have made on the sport over their careers, but these two legends are having immensely different seasons in 2013.
Manning is one of the clear-cut MVP favorites heading into Week 12. His 3572 passing yards and 34 touchdowns have helped Denver boast the top-ranked air attack in the NFL with an astounding average of 350.4 yards per game.
|Tale of the Tape|
|Stats via NFL.com|
On the other hand, Brady has struggled mightily. With only 2552 yards passing and 14 touchdowns, he is over 1,000 yards and 20 touchdowns off Manning’s pace.
Injuries have plagued New England this season, but as tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Amendola continue to return to form, the offensive unit will begin to find chemistry. Add in the return of pass-catching running back Shane Vereen from wrist surgery, and the Patriots should return to elite form against the Broncos’ porous secondary (allowing 279.1 yards per game).
Brady rises to the occasion when playing Manning, and these longtime foes will be sure to leave everything on the field once again Sunday night. Both teams want to be considered the class of the AFC, and this matchup will be a bitter battle to determine which franchise is closer to Super Bowl glory.
Brady and the Patriots were a thorn in the side of Manning and the Indianapolis Colts for years, but this is a much different franchise than the one the quarterback represented before. The Denver Broncos are a hard-nosed team that has the weapons to out-produce any opponent.
While New England has the talent to stand toe-to-toe with the Broncos, the offensive inconsistencies this season will doom the Patriots. Unless Brady finds an instant rapport with Gronkowski and his receivers, the team will have a hard time keeping up with Denver’s tempo.
New England will keep this game close on the scoreboard, but this should be a convincing win for the Broncos. It’s Super Bowl or bust for Denver if the team beats the Patriots Sunday.
Final Score: Denver 33, New England 24