Ten things to know about Patriots' game vs. Broncos


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Ten things to know about the New England Patriots' game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High(8:30 p.m. ET), via ESPN's Stats & Information:

1.The Patriots can clinch the AFC East with a win Sunday night and a loss by the Jets (home vs. Miami). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, five teams have clinched their division titles by their 11th game since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978 -- the 2009 Colts, 2007 Patriots, 2004 Eagles, 1997 49ers and 1985 Bears. No team has clinched earlier.

2. Brock Osweiler will make the second start of his career. Since 2001, quarterbacks in their first or second career start are 1-8 against Bill Belichick’s Patriots. The only quarterback to beat New England within his first two career starts in that span was Mark Sanchez in 2009.

3. Tom Brady has made at least five starts in his career against 15 teams. The Broncos are the only one of the 15 that Brady doesn’t have a winning record against (5-5 in 10 starts).

4. Brady is closing in on Dan Marino for the third-most passing touchdowns in NFL history, as he has 417 and Marino finished his career with 420. Only Peyton Manning (539) and Brett Favre (508) had more than Marino. Like Brady, current Saints quarterback Drew Brees (416) is threatening to pass Marino.

5. The Patriots have used 25 offensive line combinations this season, most in the league. Twelve Patriots players have played a snap at an offensive line position, tied with Washington for most in the league. The 25 combinations are a combination of a planned rotation and injuries forcing the team's hand at times.

6. Brady was pressured on half of his dropbacks in Monday's win over the Bills, which was his highest percentage in a game since ESPN starting charting pressures in 2008. This is topical because the Broncos pressure opposing quarterbacks at the highest rate in the NFL (39 percent), per Stats & Information's data set.

7. Entering Week 12 games, the Broncos lead the league with 34 sacks, two ahead of the next closest team, the Patriots. But the Broncos have five sacks since Week 9, tied for 18th in that span. DeMarcus Ware aggravated a back injury in Week 9, has missed the last two games and already has been ruled out against the Patriots.

8. The Broncos' defense is allowing 5.3 yards per dropback, has surrendered just eight touchdowns and has a 0.8 touchdown-to-interception ratio, which are all either the best marks in the NFL or tied for the best marks in the NFL.

9. The Broncos have nine prime-time wins at home since 2012, the most in the NFL during that span.

10. The Patriots are 25-11 on the road during the last five seasons, which is the best road record in the NFL during that span.