Sunday, December 22, Story Links

The BIG game is here. Get ready by reading today's story links about the Denver v. Oakland matchup which will probably determine the AFC West Champion.

Old rivals battle for all the marbles - Denver Post - Adam Schefter
Sunday, December 22, 2002 - OAKLAND, Calif. - Back on Monday night, Nov. 11, before the walls could go up and the cliches could be spewed, wide receiver Rod Smith stood in front of his locker just minutes after the silver and black had left his Denver Broncos black and blue.

Short sighted - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Sunday, December 22, 2002 - Early in today's Denver Broncos-Oakland Raiders game, Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon will stand in the pocket, scan the field, and then dink a 5-yard pass to wide receiver Tim Brown.

Blitzing Gannon holds key for Broncos - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Sunday, December 22, 2002 - The overriding theme of today's Broncos-Raiders game is the pass rush. Specifically, how the Broncos will pressure Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon.

Broncos must rock jailhouse - Denver Post - Woody Paige
Sunday, December 22, 2002 - ALCATRAZ, Calif. - Not only do the Broncos have the privilege of playing a football game in Oakland today, they also, according to tight end Shannon Sharpe, "get to visit the inmates."

Raiders confident of stopping Portis - Denver Post - Samuel Chi
Sunday, December 22, 2002 - ALAMEDA, Calif. - The Oakland Raiders are worried about Clinton Portis. But not that worried. The Raiders have faced some of the league's best running backs this season, and for the most part, they have held their own. Oakland has the NFL's fifth-ranked run defense, allowing just less than 95 yards per game.

Morton couldn't miss key moment of magical season - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Sunday, December 22, 2002 - This is the 16th in a weekly series celebrating the 25th anniversary

Our rivalry rivals the rest of NFL - Denver Post - Vic Vogler
Sunday, December 22, 2002 - I am a lifelong Raiders fan. And whether you know it or not, so are you. No one discounts your platonic love for the Chiefs, your tousle-haired affection for the Chargers or even the passion you tried to work up for the Seahawks. God rest their souls.

Bronco season on the line today- Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 22, 2002 - OAKLAND, Calif. — With apologies to Jake Plummer, this is it. Broncos vs. Raiders. Shanahan vs. Davis. Griese vs. Gannon. Sharpe vs. Romo. Those involved in it believe today's game between Denver (8-6) and Oakland (9-5) at Network Associates Coliseum is for the AFC West crown and a playoff berth.

Raiders' Coleman always in position - San Francisco Chronicle - David Bush
Sunday, December 22, 2002 - Rod Coleman is not quite big enough to be an interior defensive lineman. He is not quite quick enough to be a defensive end. In other words, he is perfect for the Raiders.

Storm knocks team inside - Oakland Tribune - Carl Steward
Saturday, December 21, 2002 - There may not be a Raiders game in history that carries the implications of Sunday's against Denver: Win and take a fairly firm inside track to the Super Bowl, lose and very likely miss the playoffs completely. Translation: It's a mega-must win.

Raiders need their best today - Oakland Tribune - Monte Poole
Sunday, December 22, 2002 - With Denver coming in today and Kansas City next week, the Raiders have it exactly as they should want it. Their most detested rivals coming into the Black Hole, with everything at stake. The Raiders will win the AFC West, or they'll have to live with losing in Oakland, a conceivable outcome unless every Raider is prepared to, in the parlance, "sell out."

Broncos' Shanahan desperate to conquer those hated Raiders - Mercury News - Mark Purdy
Sun, Dec. 22, 2002 - Mike Shanahan, you're on the clock. You have three hours this afternoon to show you're still the Raider subjugator of lore. Otherwise, you and your legend will be swallowed up by the man in football that you hate the most and a stadium full of fans who would like to take your skull and boil it in a tailgate stew.

Can Broncos find keys to `D'? - Mercury News - John Ryan
Sun, Dec. 22, 2002 - The NFL has been described as a copycat league. But you have to have the cats to do the copying. The Denver Broncos saw the way the Miami Dolphins handled the Raiders last week. Miami's cornerbacks bumped the Raiders receivers at the line of scrimmage, Miami's defensive line generated constant pressure and the Raiders gained a season-low 218 yards in their 23-17 loss.

Broncos WRs Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey vs. Raiders CBs Charles Woodson and Terrance Shaw - Mercury News
Sun, Dec. 22, 2002 - "We like going after guys with broken legs, especially if they aren't feeling good,'" Broncos Coach Mike Shanahan said. "That would be a high priority." Such is the plight of Woodson, normally one of the most feared defenders in the game but so injury-riddled this season that he has missed seven games and hasn't been himself in five others.

Big play turned Raiders around - Contra Costa Times - Steve Corkran
Sun, Dec. 22, 2002 - Fourteen games. Fifty-three players. One thousand eight hundred eight plays. Searching for a defining moment of the Raiders season to date is not an easy task, players and coaches said this week.

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