Mile High Stadium, Denver, Colo.
THIS WEEK: The Jacksonville Jaguars travel to Denver this week to face the Broncos in a game that brings back memories of playoff games between the two teams in Mile High Stadium the last two seasons. Kickoff for the Jaguars-Broncos game is 4:15 p.m. EST (2:15 MST).
The Jaguars are coming off their first loss of the season, a disappointing 17-16 defeat in the final seconds at Buffalo, while the Broncos had their open date last weekend. Both teams are in first place in their respective divisions, with Jacksonville at 5-1 and the Broncos joining Minnesota as the NFL's only undefeated teams at 6-0. The Broncos have a record of 6-2 after bye weeks.
The contest is the Jaguars' second of a three-game road swing. The Jaguars do not return home again until November 8. They will be in Baltimore next week. After starting the season with five straight victories for the first time ever, the Jaguars lost for the first time since losing to Denver in the 1997 playoffs, and it was their first regular-season loss since December 7, 1997 vs. New England, snapping a streak of seven consecutive wins. The Jaguars still lead the AFC Central by one game over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The game is Jacksonville's sixth of eight straight against AFC teams. The Jaguars have won 17 of their last 21 regular-season games against AFC foes dating back to late 1996.
The Jaguars and Broncos are tied with the 49ers with the second-best record in the NFL over the last 27 regular-season games dating back to November 24, 1996, when Jacksonville began its late-season streak to the playoffs. The 21-6 record of the Jaguars, Broncos and 49ers in that time trails only Green Bay (22-5) by a game. The Jaguars also have the third-best road record since late in the 1996 season (tied with Minnesota), with an 8-5 mark in that time, trailing only Green Bay and San Francisco (9-4).
While the two teams are perhaps best noted for their quarterbacks - Jacksonville's Mark Brunell and Denver's John Elway - they are also the NFL's top two rushing teams. The Broncos, led by Terrell Davis, average 177.2 rushing yards per game, and the Jaguars are No. 2, with an average of 154.5 yards a game.
TELEVISION BROADCAST: The game will be televised to most of the country by CBS and locally by WJXT Channel 4. Greg Gumbel will call the play-by-play and Phil Simms will add analysis. Armen Keteyian is the sideline reporter.
RADIO BROADCAST: All of the Jaguars' games are broadcast on WOKV (690 AM), WBWL (600 AM) and WKQL (96.9 FM) and the Jaguars Radio Network. Brian Sexton calls the play-by-play and former NFL quarterback Matt Robinson adds analysis. Sexton and Robinson are in their fourth season together. Robinson, Jennifer Kumik, Vic Ketchman, and Cole Pepper handle the pre-game show, and Pepper and ex-Oakland Raider Pete Banaszak do the post-game show. A total of 21 affiliates in four states on the Jaguars Radio Network will also broadcast the game.
THE OPPONENT: The Broncos were original members of the American Football League, starting play in 1960. They took 14 years to have a winning season, but they have since played in five Super Bowls, with one world championship. They went to their first Super Bowl in the 1977 season, and then three more times after the 1986, '87 and '89 seasons, all losses. The Broncos were out of the playoffs in 1994 and '95 before finishing 13-3 in 1996. Last year they went 12-4, finishing second in the AFC West. But they defeated Jacksonville, Kansas City and Pittsburgh in the playoffs and then Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII for their first Super Bowl title. The Broncos are quarterbacked by John Elway, who is in his 16th season with career totals of 49,450 passing yards and 284 touchdowns.
THE SERIES: The Jaguars and Broncos have played once in the regular season and twice in the postseason. The Broncos defeated the Jaguars 31-23 on December 3, 1995 in Denver in the only regular-season matchup prior to this week's game. The Jaguars beat the Broncos 30-27 on January 4, 1997 in the Divisional Playoffs, and the Broncos returned the favor 42-17 last December 27 in the Wild-Card Playoffs.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars were defeated by the Denver Broncos 42-17 in the AFC Wild-Card playoff game at Mile High Stadium on December 27, 1997. The Broncos gained 511 total yards and rushed for 310 yards in handing the Jaguars their biggest margin of defeat since a 28-3 loss at Pittsburgh 13 months earlier. The Jaguars fell behind 21-0, then rallied for 17 points behind a touchdown run by Natrone Means, a field goal by Mike Hollis and a touchdown off a blocked punt by Travis Davis. That made the score 21-17, and the Jaguars drove to Denver's 16-yard line. But a fumbled snap was recovered by Denver, and the Broncos went on to score 21 points in the fourth quarter.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE BRONCOS WOULD: Give them a 6-1 record for the second consecutive season. It would also be their 22nd victory in their last 28 regular-season games dating back to 1996, and their third victory in four road games this season.
INJURY UPDATE: Injured in the Buffalo game were: RB Tavian Banks (sprained foot), DT Kelvin Pritchett (sprained ankle), RB Chris Howard (sprained ankle), and DT Seth Payne (shoulder). Missing the game with injuries were: RB Fred Taylor (shoulder), CB Dave Thomas (strained groin) and LB Bryan Schwartz (sprained knee). The status of all injured players will be updated during the week.
THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin has led the Jaguars to the playoffs each of the last two seasons, a first for an NFL expansion team. In 1997, the Jaguars finished 11-5 and lost the AFC Central Division championship on the fifth tiebreaker to Pittsburgh. The Jaguars were defeated by Denver in the Wild-Card playoffs. In their second season in 1996, the Jaguars advanced all the way to the AFC Championship game, finishing the regular season in second place in the division with a 9-7 record. In the playoffs, the Jaguars upset the Bills and Broncos on the road before losing at New England. In 1995, Coughlin's Jaguars finished with four victories in their inaugural season. He became head coach of the Jaguars on February 21, 1994 following three successful seasons as head coach at Boston College. Coughlin compiled a record of 21-13-1 from 1991 to '93 at Boston College, and had two appearances in bowl games and a ranking of 13th in the final AP poll of 1993. A veteran of 27 years of coaching, he was previously an NFL assistant coach with the New York Giants (wide receivers, 1988-90), Green Bay Packers (wide receivers and passing game coordinator 1986-87) and Philadelphia Eagles (wide receivers, 1984-85). He has a record of 29-25 during the regular season and 2-2 in the postseason.
In Mike Shanahan's third season as Denver's head coach in 1997, the Broncos defeated the defending champion Green Bay Packers 31-24 in Super Bowl XXXII. The Broncos, who finished 12-4, became just the second wild-card team in NFL history and first AFC team since 1983 to win the Super Bowl. In 1996, the Broncos posted a club-record 13 victories and led the NFL in total offense for the first time in franchise history, while rewriting the club's record book. Shanahan returned to Denver after serving as offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers (1992-94). The 49ers led the NFL in offense twice in his three years. In 1994, they scored 60 touchdowns and won Super Bowl XXIX. Shanahan began his pro coaching career as the Broncos' receivers coach (1984). He was elevated to offensive coordinator (1985-87), helping the Broncos reach back-to-back Super Bowls (XXI and XXII). Shanahan had an 8-12 record as the Los Angeles Raiders' head coach (1988-89), then returned to Denver during the 1989 season. He was quarterbacks coach in 1989 and '90. He has a record of 47-27 in the regular season (39-15 in Denver) and 3-1 in the playoffs.
COUGHLIN FOURTH IN DIVISION VICTORIES: Six weeks into the 1998 season, the Jaguars' Tom Coughlin is fourth among all current NFL coaches with a .654 winning percentage (17-9) in division games. The leaders are Marty Schottenheimer (73-30, .709 with Cleveland and Kansas City), Bill Cowher (32-13, .711 with Pittsburgh) and Mike Holmgren (35-17, .673 with Green Bay). Mike Ditka is fifth (61-34, .642 with Chicago and New Orleans).
JACKSONVILLE-DENVER CONNECTIONS: Two Jaguars have ties to the Broncos: RB Chris Howard was a Broncos fifth-round draft choice in 1998. In four preseason games with Denver, he ran for 93 yards on 28 carries and caught three passes for 23 yards. Howard was waived from the Broncos' practice squad on September 22 and signed by the Jaguars the next day … Jaguars outside linebackers coach Lucious Selmon worked the 1989 and '90 training camps with Denver while he was an assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma … Three Jaguars have ties to the state of Colorado: OT Tony Boselli (born in Boulder) and S Chris Hudson and CB Deon Figures (University of Colorado) … Six Broncos have ties to the state of Florida: TE Dwayne Carswell (born in Jacksonville; attended University Christian High School), PK Jason Elam (born in Fort Walton Beach), QB Brian Griese (born in Miami), C K.C. Jones (University of Miami), DB Tito Paul (born in Kissimmee) and DT Trevor Price (grew up in Casselberry) … Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan worked in 1976 at the University of Oklahoma with Selmon and from 1980 to '83 as the offensive coordinator at the University of Florida … Broncos strength and conditioning coach Rich Tuten worked at the University of Florida from 1980 to '88 and 1993 to '94 …Broncos wide receivers coach Mike Heimerdinger coached at the University of Florida in 1980 and from 1983 to '87 … Broncos assistant strength and conditioning coach Greg Saporta graduated from the University of Florida in 1985 and worked as a strength coach there from 1985 to '88 and 1992 to '95 ... Jaguars linebackers coach Steve Szabo was an assistant coach at Colorado State in 1989 and '90 … Jaguars QB Mark Brunell played at the University of Washington with Broncos DE Harald Hasselbach in 1989 … Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin, TE Pete Mitchell and LB Tom McManus were at Boston College with Broncos C Tom Nalen … Jaguars DE Tony Brackens and Broncos G/C Dan Neil played together at the University of Texas … Jaguars G/OT Ben Coleman was a teammate of Broncos DB George Coghill at Wake Forest … Jaguars DT Kelvin Pritchett played with Broncos WR Willie Green at the University of Mississippi, and Pritchett and Green played for the Detroit Lions in 1993 with Broncos CB Ray Crockett … Jaguars RB Chris Howard and Broncos QB Brian Griese played on the University of Michigan's national championship team last year … Jaguars CB Deon Figures was a teammate of Broncos P Tom Rouen at the University of Colorado in 1989 and '90, and Jaguars S Chris Hudson played with Broncos OT Matt Lepsis at the University of Colorado in 1993 and '94… Jaguars TE Pete Mitchell and Broncos NT Mike Lodish attended Brother Rice High School in Birmingham, Mich. … Jaguars LB Brant Boyer and G Jeff Novak played with Broncos S Tyrone Braxton with the Miami Dolphins in 1994 … Jaguars OT Leon Searcy played in Pittsburgh with Broncos QB Bubby Brister in 1992. Brister and RB Vaughn Hebron played at Philadelphia in 1994 with Jaguars P Bryan Barker. Barker played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1990 to '93 with Broncos DE Neil Smith.… Jaguars WR Keenan McCardell played for the Cleveland Browns with Broncos OT Tony Jones.
JAGUARS VS. BRONCOS: (stats include three games: 1995 regular season and playoff games in 1996 and '97) Jaguars QB Mark Brunell was inactive for the 1995 game, but in the two playoff contests, he completed 36 of 61 passes for 448 yards, two TDs and one interception. In three games, John Elway was 63 of 96 for 735 yards and seven TDs and one interception. Jimmy Smith has been Jacksonville's top receiver, with 11 catches for 165 yards and two TDs, as well as a TD on a kickoff return and a TD on a blocked punt. In the two playoff games, Keenan McCardell has 11 receptions for 114 yards and one TD. Pete Mitchell played in all three games, with four catches for 34 yards. Denver's Ed McCaffrey has 10 receptions for 135 yards (1 TD), Rod Smith has four catches for 114 yards (1 TD), and Shannon Sharpe has six catches for 72 yards (2 TDs). In the three games, Terrell Davis has rushed 66 times for 359 yards and three touchdowns. Derek Loville also rushed for 103 yards in last year's playoff contest. Neither placekicker has missed an attempt, with Jacksonville's Mike Hollis 5 of 5 on field goals and 7 of 7 on extra points, and Denver's Jason Elam 1 of 1 on field goals and 11 of 11 on extra points.
DAILY SCHEDULE: Interview times and practice for the next week are as follows:
|5 victories in 6 games||Tying last year's mark (when the team started off 5-1)|
|Have allowed 11 TDs in 6 games||Previous best was allowing the 11th TD in the fifth game (1997)|
|Have scored 140 points in 6 games||Average 23.3 points a game, just below last year's average of 24.6|
|Average 154.5 rushing yards per game||The team record is 107.5 in 1997|
|Have rushed for 927 yards in 6 games||Previously reached 927 yards fastest in eighth game of 1995|
|Have a 100-yard rusher in 4 games||Have never had more than 2 in a season (and 3 total in 3 seasons before '98)|
|Sept. 6, 1998||at Chicago||24-23||Down 23-17 with 4:08 to play, Brunell drove the Jaguars 87 yards in 12 plays, throwing a four-yard TD pass to Jimmy Smith for the winning score.|
|Sept. 22, 1997||vs. Pittsburgh||30-21||Down 21-20 with 10:28 remaining in the game, Brunell drove the Jaguars 72 yards in 13 plays, culminating in a 27-yard field goal from Mike Hollis with 4:14 left that gave Jacksonville the lead. Pittsburgh then drove downfield and attempted a winning field goal, which was blocked and returned for a touchdown.|
|Dec. 28, 1996||at Buffalo||30-27||Tied 20-20 heading into the quarter, Brunell threw a pass that was (Wild-Card) tipped, then intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He then led the Jaguars to 10 unanswered points, including a 2-yard TD pass to Jimmy Smith on third down, for the team's first-ever playoff victory.|
|Dec. 15, 1996||vs. Seattle||20-13||Down 13-7 entering the fourth quarter, the Jaguars scored 13 unanswered points to win 20-13. First, Brunell threw a 39-yard TD pass to Jimmy Smith, then Mike Hollis kicked field goals of 19 and 39 yards.|
|Nov. 24, 1996||at Baltimore||28-25 (OT)||Down 25-10 entering the fourth quarter. Scored two touchdowns on Brunell TD passes to Pete Mitchell and Willie Jackson and a two-point conversion on a Brunell run. Brunell led Jacksonville 48 yards on 9 plays to set up Mike Hollis' game-winning 34-yard field goal.|
|Nov. 10, 1996||Baltimore||30-27||Down 27-16 with 6:23 to play. Scored on last two possessions, an 8-yard pass from Brunell to James Stewart and a 1-yard run by Brunell (with Brunell throwing a pass to Keenan McCardell for a two-point conversion).|
|Dec. 24, 1995||Cleveland||24-21||Down 14-13, Brunell ran 27 yards for a TD and threw a pass for a two-point conversion for a 21-14 lead. Cleveland tied the game 21-21 with 1:13 to play, then Brunell led the Jaguars 63 yards in 5 plays for a 34-yard field goal by Mike Hollis for the game-winner.|
|Oct. 1, 1995||at Houston||17-16||Down 16-10 with 2:27 remaining, Jeff Lageman forced a fumble. Brunell, in a relief role, drove the Jaguars 45 yards in five plays, leading to a 15-yard TD pass to Desmond Howard and the extra point by Mike Hollis. It was the franchise's first-ever victory.|