Today's game

January 11, 1998

Denver (14-4) at Pittsburgh (12-5)

Time: 12: 30 p.m.

TV: Chs. 11, 4.

Line: Broncos by 2 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Broncos 11-7; Steelers 9-8.

Vs. common opponents: Broncos 3-1 (1-1 vs. Chiefs; beat Bengals; beat Patriots); Steelers 3-1 (beat Bengals twice; beat Patriots; lost to Chiefs).

Last week: Broncos beat Chiefs, 14-10, in AFC divisional playoff in Kansas City. Steelers beat Patriots, 7-6, in AFC divisional playoff in Pittsburgh.

Last meeting: Steelers defeated Broncos, 35-24, in Pittsburgh in Week 15.

Series record: Broncos lead 12-8-1.

Streak: Broncos are 6-0 in playoffs when rushing for more than 130 yards.

By the numbers: The Broncos' offense was ranked first overall in the NFL -- fourth in rushing and ninth in passing. The Steelers' offense was No. 6 overall -- first in rushing and 23rd in passing. The Broncos' defense was fifth overall -- 16th against the rush and fifth against the pass. The Steelers' defense was sixth overall -- first against the rush and 18th against the pass.

Notable: Broncos return man Darrien Gordon was second in the conference, averaging 13.6 yards per return. Steelers K Norm Johnson made 22 of 25 field-goal attempts. The teams have split four previous playoff matchups. The Broncos are 4-1 in conference championship games. Broncos RB Terrell Davis has 285 yards rushing in 1997 playoffs and needs 106 to pass Thurman Thomas for third-most in a single postseason. He has rushed for at least one touchdown in his past six games. Davis needs 86 yards rushing to pass Sammy Winder for most in club playoff history. The Steelers are the hosts for the AFC championship game for third time in four seasons and are making a conference-high 10th championship appearance. Pittsburgh is 13-4 all-time in postseason at Three Rivers Stadium. Pittsburgh's Bill Cowher joins Paul Brown (Cleveland Browns 1950-55) as the only coaches in NFL history to earn a playoff berth in their first six seasons. The Steelers allowed only one rushing TD at Three Rivers in the past 71 quarters (to Davis in Week 15). The Steelers led the NFL in rushing offense and rushing defense, one of only seven teams to do so since 1970.

Injuries:

BRONCOS: Probable: DT Keith Traylor (ankle).

STEELERS: Out: LB Greg Lloyd (ankle infection). Doubtful: WR Curtis Marsh (hamstring). Probable: TE Mark Bruener (foot); LB Carlos Emmons (ankle); RB Tim Lester (shoulder); OL Jamain Stephens (ankle); WR Yancey Thigpen (foot).

Pub Date: 1/11/98

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