Penalty watch: Patriots vs. Broncos

Every Thursday, we'll explore the New England Patriots' penalty breakdown in comparison with the team's next opponent, while adding a few league-wide stats.

Patriots' total penalties: 53

Patriots' total accepted penalties: 46 (fourth-fewest on average/10 games)

Broncos' total accepted penalties: 71 (only five teams average more penalties/10 games)

NFL team with fewest accepted penalties (on average): Colts, with 3.8 per game

NFL team with most accepted penalties: Buccaneers, with 8.5 per game

Most frequent Patriots penalty: Offensive holding (10) and false start (9)

Key stat: The Patriots were called for two of their four unnecessary roughness penalties on the season Monday night.

Most penalized Patriots: G Logan Mankins (7), CB Kyle Arrington (3), G Marcus Cannon (3), G Dan Connolly (3) WR Julian Edelman (3), DE Chandler Jones (3), LT Nate Solder (3), CB Aqib Talib (3)

Summary: The Broncos are viewed by many as the best team in the NFL, so it is a bit surprising to see them as one of the league's most penalized teams. That reflects how penalties aren't a tell-all stat, although one wonders if it could show up more when the Broncos are tested by better opponents and find themselves in closer games. The Patriots improve to the fourth-least penalized team in the NFL this week as the Bears' 13-penalty day against the Ravens knocked them out of the top five of least-penalized teams. The crew which called those 13 accepted penalties, led by Gene Steratore, is assigned to Sunday night's Patriots-Broncos game.