DENVER -- The AFC's road to Super Bowl XLVII runs through Denver.
On Sunday, the Broncos secured a 38-3 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs, and with it home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs as the conference's No. 1 seed.
Houston's loss to the Indianapolis Colts earlier in the day gave 13-3 Denver that opportunity.
"Because it's all over the Jumbotron and people were screaming it behind us, we knew," Bailey said. "But it didn't matter. We still had to win."
Denver did just that, locking up the top seed in the AFC for the first time since 1998. That season, Denver won Super Bowl XXXIII. Manning last entered the playoffs with a No. 1 seed in 2009. He also went to the Super Bowl that year.
But Denver knows a No. 1 seed doesn't mean it's automatically the top team at the end of the year.
"It’s just like when we clinched the division, same thing now with the 1-seed -- guys aren’t really focused on it," tight end
Tamme called Denver "as good a home-field advantage as you can get," and he expects the team to take advantage of it.
"That’s huge," he said. "You’re talking about the crowd getting into it, playing in our house, not having to travel. That’s what you want, that’s what you fight for. We accomplished the first goal of that, so we’re there, we have the first seed. It’s hard to get, it’s even harder to keep it. So we have to make sure we come out and play with the style we’ve been playing with, don’t get content, just come in to work day in and day out and get better.”
The other side of the 1-seed coin is the bye week, which grants Denver a little time to reflect on what it has done in the regular season -- not to mention an opportunity for rest and recovery.
Bailey said the team will spend its free Wild Card Weekend as "football fans, really."
"Watch the games, evaluate ourselves, make sure we're doing the right things this week in practice and just go from there," he explained.
Fox said he gave the players off until Wednesday, but he expects preparation to begin on Monday.
Denver's first playoff game -- in the Divisional Round -- is scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m. MST on Saturday, Jan. 12, against the lowest remaining seed between the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals.
"We will find out who we play officially at the end of the week," Fox said. "We will have it narrowed down starting tomorrow, and so we will start working on whoever it may be."
The players in the locker room echoed one of Fox's favorite phrases -- "It's not where you start, it's where you finish."
So while the team will enjoy the benefits that come with a No. 1 seed, it will attack every game the same way it did during the now 11-game winning streak to make sure it finishes the postseason where it wants to be.
"I remember going to the playoffs my rookie year and didn't get back in until I got here," Bailey said. "All I know is this opportunity doesn't come around often. I'm going to make the most of it while I'm here."