National Football League
New England at Denver
When: 8:30 PM ET, Sunday, November 29, 2015
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Peyton Manning will be reduced to a spectator's role as the New England Patriots continue their pursuit of a perfect season when they visit the Denver Broncos on Sunday night in a showdown among AFC division leaders. Manning will sit out his second straight game due to a foot injury for the Broncos, who trail New England by two games for the conference's best record.

"I mean, there’s nobody that has more respect for Peyton than me outside of probably his parents and his brothers," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. “He’s been a tremendous player. It’s unfortunate." New England remained unbeaten despite being held to a season-low point total in Monday night's 20-13 win over division rival Buffalo. Brock Osweiler made his first career start last week and helped Denver halt a two-game losing streak with a 17-15 victory over Chicago. Osweiler was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after completing 20 of 27 passes for 250 yards, two touchdowns and zero turnovers.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Patriots -3. O/U: 43.5

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (10-0): Brady started showing the effects of losing leading receiver Julian Edelman and running back Dion Lewis, completing a season-low 51.3 percent of his passes and failing to throw for multiple touchdowns for the first time. Wide receivers Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson were hurt in the win and are not expected to play, which could force New England to lean on running back LeGarrette Blount against a defense yielding a league-low 190.6 yards passing. The Patriots are allowing a league-best 18.2 points and are second in the league with 32 sacks.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (8-2): With starting wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders sidelined, Osweiler made good use of his tight end tandem of Vernon Davis and Owen Daniels, who combined for 10 receptions and 137 yards. Star wideout Demaryius Thomas caught only his second scoring pass of the season, ending a six-game drought, while Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson gave the sagging running game a lift with a combined 161 yards. Denver's defense not only leads the league with 34 sacks, it also is surrendering the fewest total yards (284.3) and has scored four touchdowns.


1. The Patriots can clinch the AFC East title with a win and a loss by the Jets - or losses by both the Jets and Bills.

2. Sanders, who has 46 catches and four touchdowns, is expected to return to the starting lineup.

3. Brady needs three touchdown passes to tie Dan Marino (420) for third place on the all-time list.

PREDICTION: Broncos 23, Patriots 20
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
New England 10-0 W10 32.3 18.2 6-0 4-0 0-0 10-0 0-0 4-0 7-0
Denver 8-2 W1 22.2 18.3 3-1 5-1 7-1 1-1 1-0 2-1 4-2
Last Meeting
New England Denver
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/2/14 DEN 21 NE 43 398 66 332 472 43 429
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New England T. Brady 62.3 333 4 1
Denver P. Manning 59.6 438 2 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New England J. Gray 12 33 2.8 0
Denver C. Anderson 3 18 6.0 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New England R. Gronkowski 9 105 11.7 1
Denver E. Sanders 10 151 15.1 0
Touchdowns Player TD
New England J. Edelman 2
Denver R. Hillman 2
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New England T. Brady 66.3 3320 25 4
Denver P. Manning 59.9 2180 9 17
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New England L. Blount 133 569 4.3 6
Denver R. Hillman 124 528 4.3 5
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New England R. Gronkowski 51 843 16.5 8
Denver D. Thomas 71 875 12.3 2
Touchdowns Player TD
New England R. Gronkowski 8
Denver R. Hillman 5