OAKLAND, Calif. --The road to Super Bowl XLVIII in the AFC runs through Denver.
With a 34-14 win Sunday in Oakland, the Broncos locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the second consecutive season.
"it's not easy to go back-to-back 13-3 (seasons), it's not easy to go back-to-back No. 1 seeds," Head Coach John Fox said. "Obviously, everybody in our building, our city, probably our region, maybe the country was disappointed with how we finished a year ago. Hopefully that has been a fire in the belly of most everybody in our building since that last January."
The No. 1 seed brings with it a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
"Certainly we've had our goals all along," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "This is why you work hard in the offseason. This is why you lift weights and have the offseason program – to give yourself an opportunity to play in the postseason."
It's the seventh time in franchise history that the Broncos finished the season as the conference's No. 1 seed. On four of those occasions, the team reached the Super Bowl, winning it after the 1998 season.
Denver went 7-1 at home this year and will look to utilize that home-field advantage starting in the Divisional Round of the postseason.
"Hopefully we give them a better showing than we did last year," cornerback Champ Bailey said. "We're going to be ready."
The other side of the 1-seed coin is the bye week, which grants Denver an opportunity for rest and recovery.
"That's huge," running back Montee Ball said. "We're most definitely going to use it wisely. Relax, get off your feet, take care of your body, hydrate – because it's time now."
The Broncos could face the Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs or San Diego Chargers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. For more on those scenarios, click here.
The game will take place on Sunday, January 12 at 2:40 p.m. MST.