ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- It's playoff time in Denver.
"It's what you dream of as a player," wide receiver
"This is it," defensive tackle
As the team's most experienced playoff performer, quarterback
And even with the added intensity, as far as the 15th-year veteran is concerned, the postseason shouldn't be approached very differently than the regular season.
“I had an old coach that used to always say, ‘If all of a sudden you have to do something different in the postseason to get ready to play, that means you probably haven’t been doing the right things during the regular season to get ready to play,’" Manning said. "I always try to prepare every single week as if it was a playoff game or the Super Bowl, whatever it is. That’s your job, I think, as an NFL player. So when you get to the playoffs, that’s really the mindset again – ‘Hey, let’s keep doing the same things.'"
Manning said the team also recognizes that every week brings an elimination game. So while the goal is to keep an even keel from the regular season, Head Coach John Fox said that "things pick up a little bit."
“It’s different. It’s playoff time. The urgency goes up," Dumervil said. "But the thing is, we try to prepare that way all year since OTAs, try to keep that high-intensity type of urgency and preparation, so when the big dance or the big stage comes, we’re not too out of sync."
With that in mind, the Broncos will continue to abide by the mantra that got them this far -- take the postseason one game at a time.
“I think Coach Fox has done a good job of that, of keeping this team focused on the task at hand," Manning said. "Certainly when you’re playing the Baltimore Ravens, just looking at their defense, it’s easy to focus just on them. I promise you, they grab your attention."
Manning referred to the playoffs as an opportunity. The No. 1 seed doesn't guarantee anything other than an opportunity to be the last team standing.
The quarterback said the team will work hard to prepare itself for the opportunity, starting with this Saturday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.
But don't expect to see an entirely new Denver team just because it's win-or-go-home. The Broncos will go with what got them there.
"You certainly know what the stakes are, but you have to go out there and play like you’ve been practicing and playing all season," Manning said. "I think that’s really the key – who can do that the best.”