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Patriots vs. Broncos: 3 Players to Watch on Denver

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Let's take a look at three Denver Broncos that potentially could be a headache for the New England Patriots in the team's Week 5 match-up.

Justin Edmonds - Getty Images

When the NFL released it's 2012 schedule a few months ago, fans across the country circled this week's match-up on their calender: Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos taking on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots—a rivalry renewed.

As we inch closer and closer to game day, let's take a look at three players to watch on the Denver Broncos.

1. Peyton Manning

Well, isn't this one a bit obvious? Peyton Manning is a future Hall of Famer and is arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football.

In Manning's first season back from neck surgery, he's posted a solid 96.9 quarterback rating while tossing eight touchdowns compared to three interceptions (with those three picks coming in one game against the Atlanta Falcons) as well as accumulating 1,162 yards—good enough for sixth most in the NFL.

No. 18 might not be back to being his old-self, but at the level that he's playing right now, he's still one of the elite passers that the league has to offer.

2. Von Miller

The reigning defensive rookie of the year is someone to pay close attention to—Von Miller is the real deal.

Through four games in 2012, Miller has racked up 15 total tackles while recording three sacks.

The Patriots were able to bottle him up back in last year's divisional playoff battle as well as in the team's Week 15 meeting.

If the Patriots want to function effectively on the offensive side of the ball, then containing Miller and keeping him off of Tom Brady is going to have to be a must.

3. Brand Stokely

Forget Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker—Brandon Stokley is the wide receiver to look out for.

Stokley has been one of Manning's go-to-guys throughout his career and has been pretty productive through his first four games back with Manning.

The slot receiver has caught 13 passes for 158 yards, which is a solid 12.2 yards-per-reception average as well as scoring one touchdown. However, that's not his most impressive stat: Stokley has caught nine first downs thus far and proves to be the receiver that Manning is more comfortable throwing to in a critical situation.