Oilers-Broncos today

January 04, 1992|By Vito Stellino

Site: Mile High Stadium, Denver. Time: 4 p.m.

TV: Channels 2, 4

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM); WMAL (630 AM) joined in progress

Records: Oilers, 12-5. Broncos, 12-4. Line: Broncos by 3 1/2 .

Last week: The Oilers beat the Jets, 17-10, in their first playoff game. The Broncos had a bye.

Last meeting: The Oilers routed the Broncos, 42-14, on Oct. 6, as Cris Dishman returned a fumble 19 yards for 1 TD and set up LTC another with a 43-yard interception return.

The series: The Oilers have a 20-11-1 edge, but the teams are 1-1 in playoff games. The Oilers won, 13-7, in 1979 while the Broncos won, 34-10, in 1987 in the 2 previous playoff games.

On the sidelines: Dan Reeves, in his 11th season, is 108-70-1, including a 6-5 mark in playoff games. Jack Pardee, in his eighth year with his third team, is 66-59, 1-2 in the playoffs. Pardee is 23-12 in 2 years with the Oilers, including a 1-1 playoff mark.

What the Oilers have to do to win: The Oilers and QB Warren Moon have to figure out a way to operate their run-and-shoot offense on the road. They were 4-4 on the road this season, but lost 3 of their past 4 games on the road, including a 24-20 loss to the Giants in the season finale that cost them home-field advantage in this game. The Oilers have become a classic dome team that struggles on the road.

What the Broncos have to do to win: The Broncos need a solid performance by the offensive line so that QB John Elway has time to throw. He was sacked 6 times in the first game. They also have to avoid turnovers because only 2 of the 6 Broncos' TD drives in the first game were longer than 13 yards.

Injury report: Oilers: DT Doug Smith (ribs-injured reserve) is out; LB Eric Fairs (gallbladder) is doubtful; DT Ray Childress (ribs-back), LB Lamar Lathon (back-knee) are questionable. Broncos: CB Wymon Henderson (knee), TE Reggie Johnson (hamstring) are questionable; QB John Elway (right shoulder), T Harvey Salem (shoulder) are probable.

Outlook: This could shape up as a classic shootout between Elway and Moon. But given the Oilers' usual problems on the road, the Broncos figure to have the edge.

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