Alfonzo Dennard out vs. Broncos with knee injury

Jared Wickerham

The Patriots will be without one of their top corners against the best offense in football.

The New England Patriots will face the Denver Broncos on Sunday night without cornerback Alfonzo Dennard after he underwent a knee procedure, according to Ian Rapoport.

Without Dennard, New England will be relying more on top corner Aqib Talib to shutdown Demaryius Thomas while Kyle Arrington steps to the fore and plays against Eric Decker. Marquise Cole and rookie Logan Ryan also will be heavily involved in trying to shut down Wes Welker and the rest of Peyton Manning's receiving core.

Dennard, who the Patriots drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft, has been a starter for most of his young career. This season, the former Cornhusker played nine games and amassed 34 tackles and an interception.

At 7-3, New England leads the AFC East by two games over the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. The Patriots are also locked in a battle with the 7-3 Indianapolis Colts for the second-seed in the AFC playoff picture.

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