Game info: Patriots vs. Broncos

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Game info: Patriots vs. Broncos

GAME TIME: 4:25 p.m.

TV NETWORK: CBS

TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms

RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Gil Santos and Scott Zolak

ALL-TIME SERIES BETWEEN THE TEAMS:Broncos lead Patriots, 27-18 (including playoffs).
LAST MEETING: Patriots 45, Broncos 10 on Jan. 14, 2012 at Gillette Stadium.

OF NOTE . . .
Last season the Patriots beat the Broncos 41-23 on Dec. 18 in Denver during the regular season and 45-10 at Gillette on Jan. 15, becoming the 13th NFL team to score 40 or more points against the same team twice in the same season. The Patriots are the first team to score 40 points two times in a season against a non-division opponent since the Oakland Raiders did so against Tennessee in the regular season and AFC Championship game in 2002.
Tom Brady has a 2-5 record against Denver as a starter in the regular season and 3-6 overall. The Broncos are the only team against whom Brady has a losing record.
Brady is 8-4 in head-to-head matchups with Peyton Manning, though he has lost three of their last four meetings.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
With one touchdown pass against Denver, Tom Brady will extend his streak to 37 straight games with at least one touchdown pass and break a tie with Brett Favre (36) for the third-longest streak all time.
Brady has 48 career 300-yard games in the regular season and needs one more to tie Warren Moon (49) for seventh place all time.
If Brady passes for 300 or more yards against Denver, it will be the third time in his career that he has had at least a four-game stretch of 300-yard games. His career best is five straight 300-yard games in 2009. The NFL record is held by Drew Brees, who had nine consecutive 300-yard games (2011-12). Brady has thrown for 300 yards or more in seven of his last eight regular-season games.
Stephen Gostkowski (7-of-10 from 50 or more yards) needs one more 50-yard field goal to tie Adam Vinatieri (8-of-17) for most 50-yard field goals in Patriots history. Gostkowski has two 50-yarders so far in 2012 and can become the first Patriots player with three 50-yard field goals in a single season.
Jerod Mayo can extend his streak to four straight games with 10 or more tackles, which would tie his career high after recording 13 at Tennessee, 11 vs. Arizona and 11 at Baltimore. Two times in 2011, he had four-game stretches with 10 or more tackles.
Wes Welker (31) needs one more touchdown reception to break out of a tie for seventh place with Troy Brown on the Patriots all-time touchdown reception list.
Welker (14) needs one more 10-plus catch game to tie Andre Johnson (15) of Houston for the most 10-plus reception games among active players. Reggie Wayne also had 14 10-plus reception games.
The Patriots have had two straight games with two receivers reaching 100 yards. It is the fourth time in team history that the team has had back-to-back games with two receivers at 100 yards. The Patriots have never had three straight games with two 100-yard receivers.
The Patriots will be looking for their first back-to-back games with a 100-yard rusher since Laurence Maroney in 2007.

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.