ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – **The fact that the undefeated Broncos are installed by most outsiders as heavy favorites in this week's game against the winless Jaguars doesn't matter to those inside the locker room.
The team's players and coaches are looking at the tape, not the stats.
"Well, I think you're in this long enough – whether you're a player or a coach – and we've got enough veteran leadership in there that understands that we don't look at records," Fox said. "We don't look at point-spreads."
The games aren't played on paper and the Broncos know that.
"We don't care about that," safety Duke Ihenacho said of being favored heavily. "That's for betters and gambling. That's not for us. We're football players and we don't look at stuff like that. We look at the tape and what they've done on the field."
Quarterback Peyton Manning said the point spreads are "completely irrelevant" to him as he prepares to take on a Jaguars team that he has seen good things from on tape.
"We're playing a good NFL football team," Manning said. "I don't look at anything besides what I see on the tape. On defense I see a team that's stingy in the red zone. I've seen some offenses that have made some really good plays against them, that have been hard to defend and certainly it's a team with a lot of pride. It's about what are you doing each week. What you did last week, the week before, it really is irrelevant. It's about this week."
Head Coach John Fox has seen firsthand that favorites can go down.
He was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants in 1998 when the 13-0, defending Super Bowl champion Broncos came to town.
Denver left with its first loss of the season, a 20-16 defeat to the Giants.
"I've been on both sides of that," Fox recalled. "We had a (13-0) Broncos team that was 15-point favorites coming into the Giants stadium. They left with a loss."
Fox pointed to injuries as a major obstacle that the Jaguars have battled this year.
The club placed three players on injured reserve this week, including the No. 2 overall pick in this year's NFL draft, tackle Luke Joeckel. Eight players missed practice with injuries today for Jacksonville.
"I think they're a young team that has had a lot of injuries," Fox said. "They've competed. I've seen them get better every week. It's a feisty group that plays with a lot of excitement. Defensively, they pursue as good as anybody we've played to date. I think red-area, statistically, they're maybe as high in that category as anybody we've played to date. So I see a good, young football team that plays very hard for their coach. Don't expect anything different coming in here Sunday."
Denver has lost three games in a row to the Jaguars, having last beaten Jacksonville in 2005. The Broncos have never beaten Jacksonville at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The team's last home win came back in 1998 at Mile High Stadium.
"This team has beaten us I think four out of the last five times we've played, the last three in a row," Fox said. So there is nobody here taking anybody lightly. This is pro football. Everybody gets paid and everybody has pride in what they put out there on the field."
Now that the Broncos have watched film and begun gameplanning for the Jaguars, they know that the record doesn't tell the full story.
"Just because they're 0-5 does not mean they can't win this game," safety Rahim Moore said. "We're not invincible. All we've got to do is go out there and keep that chip on our shoulder, respect every opponent, and have fun."