TV: 4 p.m., WUSA-9, WJZ-13.
Records: Denver, 5-9; Detroit, 8-6. Line: Lions by 4.
The two-time defending Super Bowl champions have faced a lot of adversity since last January. QB John Elway retired, and RB Terrell Davis and TE Shannon Sharpe went down with season-ending injuries. But Denver has found talent in what has become a rebuilding year. QB Brian Griese has passed for 2,650 yards and 13 touchdowns, and the running game has been ably handled by Olandis Gary (Riverdale Baptist), who needs 64 yards to become the third Broncos rookie to rush for more than 1,000 yards. The Broncos rank third in the AFC with 42 sacks, led by Trevor Pryce with 12.
The Lions have much on the line today. A victory will all but ensure at least a wild-card berth with a Week 17 matchup at Minnesota remaining. QB Charlie Batch will make his first start since Week 9, and there's no place better to do it than the Silverdome, where Detroit has won five straight games. Batch (1,529 yards, 11 TD passes) takes over for former Redskins QB Gus Frerotte (1,937 yards, eight TDs), and his ability to get the ball to WRs Germane Crowell and Johnnie Morton will largely determine Detroit's offensive success. The Lions' rushing defense is giving up just 85 yards per game.