Event: New England Patriots (10-3) vs. Denver Broncos (8-5) - NFL Week 15.
Date/Time: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 4:15 p.m. EDT.
Location: Mile High Stadium (Capacity: 76,273), Denver, Colorado.
Broadcast Info: Sunday's game between the Patriots and Broncos will be aired regionally on CBS, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms serving as the broadcast team. The game can also be heard on WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub, with Gil Santos, Gino Cappelletti and Scott Zolak serving as the broadcast team.
Last Time Out: Tom Brady threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns as the Patriots defeated the Washington Redskins, 34-27, to give New England its first ever victory at FedEx Field. Rob Gronkowski had six catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns and was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week. New England hasn't lost since Week 9.
Denver defeated the Chicago Bears, 13-10, in overtime. Matt Prater hit a 59-yard field goal with three seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 10-10 and proceeded to kick the game-winning 51-yard field goal with 8:34 left in OT. Tim Tebow threw for 236 yards - including 191 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime - and led the Broncos down the field for a 10-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas with 2:08 to play in the game before Prater's field goals.
Patriots In The Rankings: New England boasts the second-best passing attack in the NFL with 319.3 yards per game. In addition, the Patriots rank 13th in rushing yards allowed (107.3 YPG), 21st in rushing yards (105.1 YPG) and dead last (No. 32 overall) with 308.7 passing yards allowed.
Broncos In The Rankings: Denver is the league's best rushing team, averaging 156.2 yards per game on the ground. The Broncos are 17th in passing yards allowed (232.9 YPG), 21st in rushing yards allowed (124.2) and are 31st overall with 160.8 passing yards per contest.
Tom Brady And Denver: It hasn't exactly been a shining success story for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots against the Denver Broncos over the past decade. Brady is a mere 1-6 in his career against the Broncos - the only losing record he possesses against an NFL opponent. Brady is 1-4 against the Broncos in Denver.
Storyline: If you don't know what the storyline is entering this game, well, you must have been out of the country for a while. Scratch that, you must have been out of this universe. Tim Tebow has gripped the nation, as his 7-1 mark as a starting quarterback and his six-game winning streak has captured the national spotlight. How does this young man -- a publicly known devout Christian who isn't exactly considered a good passer -- continue to win football games? Experts, fans and players alike are baffled. Against all odds, Tebow continues to win. Don't try to explain, because you can't.
However, Tebow has yet to face a powerhouse franchise - one like the Patriots. Tom Brady and the Pats offense is clearly superior to that of Denver. Still, the Pats' secondary is what has caused concern this season, as it has struggled through most of the season. If Brady and the Pats score early and often, they may be able to avoid the famous Tebow fourth-quarter comeback that's almost an inevitability at this point. With Tebow, you just never know.
Players To Watch: Didn't you hear me? Tebow and Brady - enough said. These are the two men who will steal the spotlight on Sunday afternoon. Other players to watch will be Brady's favorite weapons - Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez - while Von Miller is a key player for Denver on defense.
Prediction: As we've all learned by now, predicting losses for Tim Tebow doesn't usually pan out well. However, Tebow Time hasn't met Tom Terrific yet. If the Pats can get clicking on offense early, expect an easy win. Final Score: Patriots 34, Broncos 24.