Broncos rushing attack vs. Patriots
As expected, the Broncos running game has taken a back seat to Peyton Manning and the high flying passing attack, but utilizing the run has been a solid compliment Manning has used to keep opposing defenses honest in 2013. Denver has rushed for 1,051 yards on the season, 21st in the league, but has punched the ball into the end zone 13 times, two touchdowns behind the league-leading San Francisco 49ers. Knowshon Moreno has been the lead back for the Broncos this year, running for 600 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, while rookie Montee Ball has added 222 yards and three touchdowns of his own.
The Patriots run defense has been hampered since losing Vince Wilfork for the year Week 4 against the Falcons, and the Patriots yard totals have shown it, as the team is currently ranked 25th in yards allowed, giving up 1,257 this season. They have also given up an average of 125.7 rushing yards per game, 27th in the NFL. The Patriots have been stingy in the red zone, however, allowing just four rushing touchdowns on the season, tied for third fewest in the NFL. Rookies Joe Vellano and Chris Jones have combined to try and fill the void left by Wilfork and tackle Tommy Kelly, who was also lost for the year. The Patriots held the Broncos to just 70 yards on the ground against Denver last year.