ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --For the fifth consecutive week, the Broncos are set to face a team with a sub-.500 record. But the mantra remains the same -- look at the tape, not the standings.
That holds especially true when the opponent is a division rival like the Kansas City Chiefs.
"What I do know is it's a rivalry game, you can throw those records right out the window, it doesn't matter," defensive tackle Justin Bannan said. "These guys are going to be ready to play and we're going into Kansas City. It's always a tough environment for the Broncos to play in, so we have to be ready to go."
The Broncos haven't taken any of its previous four opponents lightly, so cornerback Champ Bailey didn't buy any notion of a potential "trap game" against the 1-9 Chiefs.
"First and foremost, they're an AFC West opponent, so it's a little heightened sense of urgency from both sides," Bailey said. "I think we definitely can't go in there with our eyes closed and think we're going to come out with a win. This is a hungry football team with a lot of talented players. They've got a lot of pride so we expect their best shot."
Both Bannan and safety Mike Adams agreed with Bailey's claim.
Having played on losing teams in the past -- Bannan with St. Louis and Adams with Cleveland -- both players brought up how much pride there is in an NFL locker room, regardless of record. Adams said he expects the Broncos to face a team filled with players working as hard as they can on the field this Sunday.
"I don't think any game in the NFL you can look past," Adams said. "I was on a losing team, I was with Cleveland. Guys tried to look past us and we ended up winning a game sometimes or making it closer than it should be. And that's what you don't want. They get paid just like we do, so we're just going to take the challenge, go out there and play our game."
At the same time, it isn't as if Kansas City is devoid of talent.
Tight end Jacob Tamme pointed out that the Chiefs have "five guys on their defense that could be Pro Bowlers." Safety Rahim Moore noted that with running back Jamaal Charles in the backfield, Kansas City "will run on you all day." Quarterback Peyton Manning pointed out the amount of pressure the Kansas City defense -- which ranks ninth in the league against the pass -- has put on signal callers all season.
In other words, the Broncos won't take their latest challenge lightly.
"They've got five first-rounders on defense, sprinkled all through the depth chart there," Head Coach John Fox said. "Offensively, they've got the fourth-leading rusher in the AFC and the tenth-leading receiver. Our guys look at the tape and they understand (it's a) division game on the road – this is a very capable football team."
As far as the locker room is concerned, 1-9 versus 7-3 means nothing come Sunday.
"Just because they're 1-and-something doesn't mean they can't go out and make big plays," Moore said. "This is a game as if we're both 7-3."