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Today's NFL Games : Broncos Will Try Again to Clinch Playoff Spot

December 19, 1987|From Times Wire Services

The Denver Broncos, who last weekend could have become the first American Football Conference team to clinch a playoff spot, get another chance to do so today.

The Broncos face the Kansas City Chiefs at Mile High Stadium (Channel 4, 1 p.m., PST) and can secure at least a wild-card berth with a victory. Denver (8-4-1) can win the division and maintain a home-field advantage throughout the playoffs by winning its final two games at home. Seattle and San Diego are 8-5-0.

"Every week you put it off (making the playoffs), the pressure gets greater," Bronco Coach Dan Reeves said. "We've got a chance to play all the games right here as long as we continue to win. That's one thing to fight for. Our record at home is pretty good."

Denver could have clinched a playoff berth last week in Seattle.

Kansas City (3-10) got off to a bad start when its replacement team lost all three games to give the Chiefs a 1-4 record. Coach Frank Gansz, however, said his players are motivated by the level of competition.

"It's a matter of pride of competing against the very best in the National Football League, and that's what we think Denver is," Gansz said. "They are a Super Bowl team that's certainly destined in that direction again."

Two of the Chiefs' wins have come in the last three weeks, including a 16-10 victory last Sunday over the Raiders.

"We can't look at their record," Reeves said. "The last three weeks, they've played like everybody felt they would play coming into the season. I think they are one of the teams that really suffered from the replacement games."

The game will match the AFC's top-rated offense, led by Denver's John Elway, against a Chief defense that is ranked last in the conference.

On offense, the Chiefs will rely on quarterback Bill Kenney and wide receiver Carlos Carson, who combined for 142 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders, along with running back Christian Okoye, whose 597 yards is tops among National Football League rookies.

In today's other game, the Green Bay Packers play the New York Giants at East Rutherford, N.J. (Channel 2, 9:30 a.m.).

The Packers have more at stake than the Giants. Green Bay (5-7-1) still has a mathematical chance of making the playoffs, while the Giants (4-9) were eliminated from postseason contention last week by losing to St. Louis, 27-24.

Green Bay's playoff chance are not great and the Packers would be eliminated if the Minnesota Vikings (7-6) win one of their last two games. The Packers beat the Vikings, 16-10, last Sunday to keep their hopes alive.

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