The Broncos now know they will host the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Playoffs this Saturday.
It was a welcome change to be able to find that out while watching games this weekend.
Granted, it was somewhat strange not to see the Broncos play. After all, they have won 11 straight games and have been playing as consistently well as any team in the NFL.
Then, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, they jumped into the top seed in the AFC and locked up a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
The team, and its fans, didn’t have to worry about much of anything this weekend. It was simply wait and see which team would be coming to Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Saturday, January 12.
For fans who pour their hopes and emotions into rooting for the Broncos, the weekend off had to be a terrific mental break. I can only imagine how it helped players and coaches this time of year when the stakes go sky high.
Some people think that a bye week before the playoffs kills momentum and disrupts rhythm.
I say that is over-thinking things. Thank goodness the Broncos got a weekend to relax, regroup and refocus for the intensity of the playoffs. I’ll take a free pass in the first round of the playoffs every time.
“I think it’s how you handle the bye,” Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway told 850 KOA. “(Head coach) John (Fox) does a good job how he handles the bye. He’s always comes off byes very well. It doesn’t concern me. It’s a weekend to rest your body but mentally stay in the game of football.”
Fox made sure his team got some time to relax… but not too much. He designed a schedule that had the team off last Monday and Tuesday. Then the Broncos practiced Wednesday through Friday. He added a mandatory weightlifting session this past Saturday, just to make sure players stayed in town.
“You just want them to be focused, not concerned with flights to other states and those types of things, especially close states,” Fox admitted. “At the end of the day, you just want them focused, maybe watching football (rather) than some other things.”
This is a man with a realistic approach. The most important part of the season is before the Broncos and there is no reason to open the door to, shall we say, extracurricular activities.
No doubt the atmosphere at Broncos headquarters will be, and should be, more intense this week than last. The run for the Super Bowl is on.
On the field, the Broncos did what they needed to do to maximize their chances of raising the Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans. This past week, their approach with a week off also seemed to be just right.
Of course, time will tell. But the Broncos are still the team to beat to get to and win the Super Bowl. If another AFC team can come to Denver and knock them off, I’ll tip my cap to that team.
Let the fun begin.
What do you think of the rematch with the Ravens next Saturday? Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.