The Broncos are 5-2, but this isn't coach Dan Reeves's best team. It's not even in the top three. Strangely, the offense hasn't been pulling its weight; in fact, Denver was coming off a 34-3 blistering by the Redskins, and the Broncos had scored only two touchdowns in their previous 47 possessions. However, at least the Broncos are atop the AFC West, and unlike the Oilers they don't have the weight of another last-minute loss at Mile High on their shoulder pads. "Today, if we'd won, we would have shut up the nation and really proved something about getting to that next level," said wideout Ernest Givins of the 4-2 Oilers. "Now everyone will say, 'Same old Oilers.' "
And the same old Elway.
Twenty years after they went 17-0 in the NFL's only perfect season, the Dolphins have a good chance to go at least 9-0 this year. Miami defeated the Patriots 38-17 on Sunday to improve to 6-0 and now plays the 3-3 Colts, the 1-5 Jets and the Colts again in the next three weeks. The Dolphin teams of '72 and '92 have something in common besides the unblemished records: relatively easy schedules. During the regular season the '72 squad played two teams with winning records—the 8-6 Giants and the 8-6 Chiefs—and the combined winning percentage of Miami's 14 opponents was .367. The combined winning percentage of the Dolphins' first six victims this year is .333.
Miami fans should hold their excitement, though, until they see if the Dolphins can get through a 21-day stretch—in which they will face Buffalo, Houston, New Orleans and San Francisco—with their grip on the home field advantage in the AFC playoffs still intact. The AFC team with the home field advantage throughout the playoffs has advanced to the Super Bowl in each of the last five years, and home teams have won 13 straight AFC playoff games.
STATS OF THE WEEK
•The Browns haven't allowed a TD in their last 234 defensive plays, dating to the third quarter of their Sept. 20 game against the Raiders.
•In his last three halves the Eagles' Herschel Walker has rushed for a total of 19 yards on 13 carries.
•On Sunday in Phoenix the Cardinals, playing NFC playoff contender New Orleans, drew only 8,712 more fans than the Suns, who were playing the Boston Celtics in an NBA preseason game.
•In the four NFL games that cornerback Deion Sanders has missed, the Falcons' opponents have passed for a combined 1,429 yards and 12 touchdowns. Atlanta has lost three of those games, including Sunday's 56-17 defeat by the 49ers.