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Chargers-Broncos, Take Three

Posted Jan 6, 2014

The Broncos continued their preparation for this weekend's game Monday, now knowing their Divisional Round opponent.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- For the Broncos, the wait is over.

After a week of waiting and a weekend of watching, Denver found out Sunday afternoon that the San Diego Chargers will be Sunday's Divisional Round opponent.

“It really didn’t matter who we played. I’m excited just to be in the playoffs and play again," wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said. "So that was the main thing. But it’s a great opponent and I’m excited about playing them since it’s our next opponent.”

But more than just finding out who was up next on the schedule, the weekend of watching football reminded defensive end Malik Jackson that it's not a hobby he wants to take up any time soon.

"Sitting there watching these teams play really makes you realize that you don’t want to be there the next few weeks watching the teams play," Jackson said, acknowledging that the rest was still helpful. "It kind of let us rejuvenate our bodies and our minds and now we’re ready to go out to get these one-week seasons going."

The first one-week season started today, as the Broncos hit the practice field for the first time knowing their opponent.

And they know this opponent plenty well. The division rivals last matched up in Week 15, when San Diego gave Denver its third and final regular-season loss.

“They’ve been playing hungry," wide receiver Eric Decker said of the Chargers. "I think from our game on, it’s been playoff football for them. They’ve been playing well as a team. For us, our biggest thing is we’ve got to match them physically. We’ve got to bring some energy. I think that is something we didn’t do last time around. But again, that is in the past. We’re focused on the present and really our matchup this weekend at home.”

Head Coach John Fox said the Chargers "did a tremendous job" of going into a hostile environment in Cincinnati on Sunday and winning by running the ball effectively on offense and taking away the ball on defense.

Since both teams are familiar with one another, there's no real advantage on one side or the other for this Sunday.

And Fox didn't buy into the argument that the game will be even tougher with it being the third time the teams have played this season.

"You get into the playoffs and they’re all difficult," he said. "That is why they have the playoffs. Regardless of whether it’s in your division, how many times you’ve played them, it’s a single-elimination tournament and whoever plays the best wins.”

The work continued Monday to make sure the Broncos avenge their Week 15 loss and move on to the AFC Championship Game.

"It’s kind of that rubber match, so to speak. Third-time around, it’s win-or-go-home," Decker said. "So, for us, this is a good challenge and we’re excited about it.”