The Denver Broncos are once again the #1 seed. For the second year in a row they have a 13-3 record, a first-round bye and home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. So what will be different this year versus last year when they lost at home to the Baltimore Ravens?
After Denver defeated the Oakland Raiders 34-14 in their regular season finale, the team could care less about the records, the injuries and the regular season.
“Obviously, everybody in our building, our city, probably our region, maybe the country was disappointed with how we finished a year ago,” said coach John Fox after the game. “Hopefully that has been a fire in the belly of most everybody in our building since that last January.”
Not to be one to get out of character after breaking a few records, Peyton Manning was also quick to turn his attention to the big picture.
“We have had a number of distractions,” said Manning. “Injuries, on-field situations, off-field situations. But I think the one constant has been the players’ focus – they have remained focused on the task at-hand, on trying to improve everybody’s individual play which hopefully would result in better team play. This is why you work hard in the offseason. This is why you lift weights and have the offseason program – is to give yourself an opportunity to play in the postseason.”
Even rookie running back Montee Ball seems to understand the gravity of the situation he and his teammates are in.
“Now it gets a lot more serious,” said Ball. “It was already serious to start with, but now it’s time to really crack down on mistakes and correct them, because it can be one and done.”