Broncos v. Jaguars Game Snapshot

The Denver Broncos' running game came alive Monday night, but they're traveling to Florida on a short week and facing a much tougher run defense. The game could rest on the arm of Broncos QB Jake Plummer. For Jacksonville, quarterback Byron Leftwich is hurting, so the Jaguars may want to rely on their running game heavily to prevent him from taking too many hits.

Games:
Sunday
Buffalo Bills (1-2) at New Orleans Saints (1-2)
Denver Broncos (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1)
Detroit Lions (1-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-0)
Houston Texans (0-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-0)
Indianapolis Colts (3-0) at Tennessee Titans (1-2)
San Diego Chargers (1-2) at New England Patriots (2-1)
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at Washington Redskins (2-0)
St. Louis Rams (2-1) at New York Giants (2-1)
New York Jets (1-2) at Baltimore Ravens (0-2)
Dallas Cowboys (2-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-3)
Minnesota Vikings (1-2) at Atlanta Falcons (2-1)
Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-1)
San Francisco 49ers (1-2) at Arizona Cardinals (0-3)

Monday
Green Bay Packers (0-3) at Carolina Panthers (1-2)


Denver Broncos (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1)

GAME SNAPSHOT

KICKOFF:
Sunday, 1:00ET
GAMEDATE: 10/02/05
SURFACE: Grass
TV: CBS, Ian Eagle, Solomon Wilcots

SERIES: 5th meeting. The Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars have split their four regular season games and split two playoff games in the 1990s. Last season the Broncos were in field-goal range but fumbled in the final minute of a 7-6 loss at Jacksonville.

2005 RANKINGS: Broncos: offense 13th (9th rush, 19th pass); defense 12th (15th rush, 13th pass). Jaguars: offense 16th (10th rush, 23rd pass); defense 2nd (21st rush, 2nd pass)

PREDICTION: Jaguars 20-16

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Broncos out-gained the Jaguars 356-176 in last year's meeting, but the Jaguars scored the game's only touchdown while the Broncos had a red-zone fumble. Denver has some uncertainty at cornerback, so look for the Jaguars to try to stretch the field a bit more. However, with QB Byron Leftwich hurting, Jacksonville does want to rely on its running game heavily to prevent him from taking too many hits. The Broncos' running game came alive Monday night, but they're traveling to Florida on a short week and facing a much tougher run defense. The game could rest on the arm of Broncos QB Jake Plummer. The Jaguars are without injured S Donovin Darius and the Broncos will need a few big plays in the passing game to help soften Jacksonville's run defense.

FAST FACTS: Broncos: WR Ashlie Lelie leads all receivers with at least60 receptions the past two years with 18.7 yards per catch. ... Have averaged 10.7 points in losing two of three games in Florida since Week 2 last season. Jaguars: Leftwich has nine touchdown passes to just two interceptions in his past seven home games. ... Are 13-4 (.765) when RB Fred Taylor has a 100-yard rushing game at home.

PERSONNEL NEWS:
Broncos:

--CB Champ Bailey said his injured hamstring is feeling better, but he doesn't know if he'll be able to participate in Friday's practice or play on Sunday at Jacksonville.
--CB Darrent Williams missed another day of practice with a sprained ankle. Williams will probably play on Sunday but Mike Shanahan has usually avoided starting rookies who don't practice during the week.
--CB Domonique Foxworth might get his first NFL start this week. If Champ Bailey can't play and the Broncos decide that Darrent Williams -- who didn't practice on Wednesday or Thursday because of a sprained ankle - isn't ready to start, Foxworth would be next in line.
--WR Ashley Lelie was one of the best deep threats in the league last year but he hasn't connected for any long plays with Jake Plummer yet this season. Lelie said he's not worried, even though teams have given him a little more respect by sometimes playing a safety over the top in coverage.
--FB Kyle Johnson is a dependable, smart player and his ability to run with the ball has allowed the Broncos to run fake dive plays to him and pitch out to the tailback because the defense has to respect the fake to Johnson.

Jaguars:
--DT Marcus Stroud returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's practice with a knee injury. He's still listed as questionable.

--T Mo Williams returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's practice with a knee injury. He's still listed as questionable.

--G Chris Naeole returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's practice with a knee injury. He's still listed as questionable.

--RB Derrick Wimbush was added to the injury report with a hamstring injury. He's listed as questionable and didn't practice Thursday.

--DE Reggie Hayward, who's listed as probable with a foot injury, practiced again Thursday. He'll be playing against his old Denver teammates for the first time since signing with the Jaguars in the off-season as a free agent.

INSIDE THE CAMPS:
Broncos:

Last Monday night, Denver Broncos defensive end Trevor Pryce answered any questions that might have been lingering about his ability to come back from back surgery that shortened his 2004 season.

Pryce had only four tackles and no sacks against the Chiefs, but that didn't tell the story. Pryce had a great game, drawing many holding penalties. He pressured quarterback Trent Green 10 times, according to Denver's count.

Pryce had only three tackles through Denver's first two games. He played only two games last year because of surgery to fix a bulging disc in his back, so his dominant game against the Chiefs was a welcome sight.

"Oh, you know he had that kind of game in him," Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said. "It was great to see."

Pryce said he feels very good physically. He said his lack of production in the first two games had nothing to do with his back, but the game plan. Denver used a lot of zone blitzes in its first two games, but used the defensive line to get pressure on Green in Week 3.

When Denver jumped out to a 17-0 lead, Pryce was free to concentrate on getting to the quarterback because the Chiefs had to pass to try to get back in the game.

"It's like being a running back," Pryce said. "If you're a good running back, you want the ball. We were just getting, as a defensive line, opportunities to rush the passer because the passer was their offense."

Jaguars:
The Jaguars are keeping their fingers crossed that they'll have the right side of their offensive line ready to go for the game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Tackle Mo Williams and guard Chris Naeole, who both sat out Wednesday's practice with sprained knees, were back at practice Thursday with the first unit. Williams had a brace on his right knee and Naeole a wrap on his left knee.

Both went the entire practice and said they'd be ready to go Sunday, although the Jaguars still have to find out whether they can hold up for the entire game.

"It felt great," Williams said. "I'm excited about going out to help the team win."

Naeole, who has started all 51 games he's played with the Jaguars, brushed off the injury.

"I'm sprained my knee before (without missing a game)," he said.

The Jaguars need improved play from their line after giving up eight sacks the last two games.

Defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, who insisted all along that he'd play, also returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday's practice with a knee injury.

Williams, Naeole and Stroud remain questionable on the injury report.

While they all returned, running back Derrick Wimbish was added to the injury report with a hamstring injury. He's questionable and didn't practice. There were no other changes to the injury report.

The Jaguars also announced that punter Chris Hanson, the NFL's leading punter with a 43.6 yard net average who also tops the NFL with 11 punts downed inside the 20 and eight 50-yard punts, was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month by the NFL.



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