The Broncos already have a game plan for two of their possible three opponents. (Now one of two.) And they know they work.
Denver beat Cincinnati 31-23 in early November and took down Baltimore in mid-December 34-17. These were two signature dominating performances amid the Broncos 11-game win streak, but it doesn’t necessarily give them a complete upper-hand if there happens to be a rematch.
“The fact that they played us is an advantage to them, too,” head coach John Fox said. “If we don’t take care of business whenever the next time we go out, whoever we’re playing, it’ll be all for naught, so I think our guys understand that.”
Indianapolis could also play Denver for the first time this season on January 12th.
Denver also has the opportunity, if they advance to the conference championship game, to face two teams, New England and Houston that they lost to this year.
“I don’t think it really matters much,” aligned Champ Bailey. “There’s two teams that we might have to face that we lost games to but, that’s one thing I can say, I’m glad we’ve played at least most of the teams on our side and we’re familiar.”
But the second time around, especially in the intense postseason, even Peyton Manning saying that there’s “nothing quite like playoff football, in my opinion”, the initial meeting will mean very little. It’s a game with very different motives, and much high stakes.