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Digging into Denver's playoff rematches

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With Round 2 between the Broncos and Colts looming this Sunday, we took a look back at Denver's playoff-rematch history.

Sunday's game will be the 23rd playoff game the Broncos have drawn against a team they faced in the regular season prior, with Denver going 13-9 in those matchups. At home in such games, the Broncos are a near-perfect 11-1, with the only defeat coming after the 2012 season against the Ravens.

Rematches in the divisional round have been kind to Denver, with nine wins and three losses. Additionally, the Broncos have gone 8-1 when the regular-season matchup came in the first half of the season, as their game against the Colts did this year.

See below for a game-by-game breakdown of every playoff rematch in Broncos history.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Chargers, 2013

FIRST MEETING: Week 10 in San Diego; 28-20 win

SECOND MEETING: Week 15 in Denver; 20-27 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Denver, 24-17 win

THE SKINNY: A 28-3 start in San Diego helped the Broncos to a win in Week 10, but the Chargers bit back late in the season with a 27-20 win on Thursday night in Denver. The Broncos would avenge the loss in the playoffs however, jumping out to a 24-7 lead in the fourth quarter. A late charge from Philip Rivers wasn't enough, as the Broncos sealed the win with the help of a third-and-17 conversion from Peyton Manning to Julius Thomas.

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OPPONENT AND SEASON: ** Patriots, 2013

FIRST MEETING: Week 12 in Foxborough; 31-34 loss in OT

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Championship in Denver; 26-16 win

THE SKINNY: A wild Sunday-night game that began with a 24-0 Denver lead ended in a bitter overtime loss after a second-half rally from the Patriots and a fumble on a punt by the Broncos in overtime. But for the second week in a row, Denver delivered in a playoff rematch in the AFC Championship Game, controlling the lead throughout and using a big sack from Terrance Knighton to close out the Patriots.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Ravens, 2012

FIRST MEETING: Week 15 in Baltimore, 34-17 win

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Denver; 35-38 loss in 2OT

THE SKINNY: A Week 15 trip to M&T Bank Stadium produced a resounding win for the Broncos, who jumped out to a 31-3 lead behind a pick-six by Chris Harris Jr. and a long touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to Eric Decker. The Ravens proved stingier in Denver however, matching each of the Broncos' five touchdowns on a cold January day to force overtime. In double overtime, Justin Tucker hit a 47-yard field goal to send the eventual Super Bowl-champion Ravens on to the next round.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Patriots, 2011

FIRST MEETING: Week 15 in Denver; 23-41 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Foxborough; 10-45 loss

THE SKINNY: A Tim Tebow-led offense ran the ball effectively but committed three turnovers in the first of three losses to close the Broncos' regular season. After a thrilling win on the first play of overtime against the Steelers, the Broncos headed to Foxborough to face 13-3 New England. The Patriots' 35 first-half points, all from Tom Brady touchdown passes, put the Broncos in a hole and they never recovered.

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OPPONENT AND SEASON: ** Patriots, 2005

FIRST MEETING: Week 6 in Denver; 28-20 win

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Denver; 27-13 win

THE SKINNY: After beating the Patriots to move to 5-1 with the help of a 100-yard game from Tatum Bell on the ground, the Broncos hosted New England in the second round of the playoffs, hoping to break the Patriots' 10-game playoff win streak. With the help of an interception in the end zone by Champ Bailey, which he returned 100 yards to the Patriots' 1-yard line, Denver defeated the reigning Super Bowl champions by two touchdowns.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Colts, 2004

FIRST MEETING: Week 17 in Denver; 33-14 win

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Wild Card in Indianapolis; 24-49 loss

THE SKINNY: With the Colts resting their starters in Week 17, the Broncos handled them at home to clinch a Wild Card berth and a playoff trip to the RCA Dome for the second consecutive year. They couldn't handle Peyton Manning, who had 458 yards passing and four touchdowns, and weren't able to keep a consistent ground game in the 25-point loss.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Colts, 2003

FIRST MEETING: Week 16 in Indianapolis; 31-17 win

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Wild Card in Indianapolis; 10-41 loss

THE SKINNY: A Week 16 meeting in Indianapolis ended in a comfortable win for the Broncos, as their defense held Peyton Manning to 146 passing yards and the Colts to 183 total yards. But Manning and Co. couldn't be contained in the playoffs two weeks later, as he completed 22-of-26 passes for 377 yards and five touchdowns. Only 176 yards from the Broncos' offense and three turnovers sunk Denver.

**

OPPONENT AND SEASON: ** Dolphins, 1998

FIRST MEETING: Week 16 in Miami; 21-31 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Denver; 38-3 win

THE SKINNY: After a 13-0 open to the regular season was ended in Week 15 against the Giants, the Dolphins beat the Broncos by 10 on Monday night in Miami behind a 28-3 run. When Dan Marino and Co. came to Denver three weeks later, the Broncos left no doubt with a dominant win at home. Terrell Davis' 199 yards and two touchdowns led the way and Neil Smith capped the win with a 79-yard touchdown return of a fumble.

**

OPPONENT AND SEASON: ** Chiefs, 1997

FIRST MEETING: Week 1 in Denver; 19-3 win

SECOND MEETING: Week 12 in Kansas City; 22-24 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Kansas City; 14-10 win

THE SKINNY: The Broncos won comfortably in the season opener, allowing a lone field goal in former Chiefs defensive end Neil Smith's debut in Denver. A two-point loss on a last-second field goal in Kansas City helped the Chiefs take the AFC West title, but the Broncos returned in the divisional round and wouldn't be denied. With two 1-yard TDs by Terrell Davis and a fourth-down stop in the waning seconds, the Broncos spoiled the Chiefs' perfect home record and won 14-10.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Steelers, 1997

FIRST MEETING: Week 15 in Pittsburgh; 24-35 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Championship in Pittsburgh; 24-21 win

THE SKINNY: The ultimate Super Bowl-champion Broncos suffered the first of consecutive late-season losses in Week 15 after three touchdown catches by Yancey Thigpen erased a 21-7 lead. Returning to the scene of the crime five weeks later, the Broncos ramped up the run game and picked off Kordell Stewart three times. A huge third-down conversion to Shannon Sharpe and gains on the ground from Terrell Davis ran out the clock and sent Denver to San Diego to play the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Raiders, 1993

FIRST MEETING: Week 7 in Denver; 20-23 loss

SECOND MEETING: Week 18* in Los Angeles; 30-33 OT loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Wild Card in Los Angeles; 24-42 loss

*In 1993, the NFL played a 16-game schedule with two bye weeks for each team.

THE SKINNY: With their division rivals still based in Los Angeles, the Broncos couldn't quite break through against Jeff Hostetler and the Raiders in 1993. The second of two three-point losses came in overtime the regular-season finale in LA, where the Broncos returned a week later for the playoffs. In the Wild Card bout, the teams were tied at halftime, but the Raiders pulled away with three rushing touchdowns by Napoleon McCallum.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Oilers, 1991

FIRST MEETING: Week 6 in Houston; 14-42 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Denver; 26-24 win

**

THE SKINNY: ** An early-season meeting got away from the Broncos when turnovers fueled 28 second-quarter points, but the Broncos finished one game better in the regular season, bringing the Oilers to Mile High. Despite going in a 21-6 hole in the second quarter, John Elway and the Broncos fought back. They started on their own 2-yard line (sound familiar?) with 2:07 remaining and down 24-23, and Elway converted two fourth downs en route to David Treadwell's game-winning field goal.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Steelers, 1989

FIRST MEETING: Week 9 in Denver; 34-7 win

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Denver; 24-23 win

THE SKINNY: At home in Week 9, the Broncos outgained the Steelers 414 to 170 in a big win against John Elway's future backup, Bubby Brister. The 9-7 Steelers beat the Oilers in the first round of the playoffs before heading back to Mile High to face the top-seeded Broncos. Denver overcame a 10-0 deficit and took the lead for good on a 1-yard touchdown by Melvin Bratton, capping a 71-yard game-winning drive. A fumbled snap by Brister recovered by Broncos safety Randy Robbins clinched the win.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Browns, 1989

FIRST MEETING: Week 4 in Cleveland; 13-16 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Championship in Denver; 37-21 win

THE SKINNY: After a three-point defeat in Week 4 to the Browns, the Broncos drew Cleveland in the AFC Championship for the third time in four years. Unlike narrow wins in '86 and '87, Denver handled the Browns easily, as John Elway threw for 385 yards and three touchdowns and the Broncos' defense intercepted Bernie Kosar three times.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Oilers, 1987

FIRST MEETING: Week 3 in Denver; 10-40 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Denver; 34-10 win

THE SKINNY: A big loss to Houston came in the first of four games John Elway missed in 1987, but the star QB returned to lead Denver to a 10-4-1 record and win the league's MVP award. After a playoff bye week, Elway threw two touchdowns and ran for another in a comfortable win over the Oilers and Warren Moon.

**

OPPONENT AND SEASON: ** Patriots, 1986

FIRST MEETING: Week 4 in Denver; 27-20 win

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Denver; 22-17 win

THE SKINNY: After an early-season win over the reigning AFC Champions, the Broncos drew the Patriots again in the divisional round for the first of four all-time playoff meetings. John Elway ran for a touchdown and threw one as well, a 48-yarder to Vance Johnson late in the third quarter to take a three-point lead. A sack for a safety by Rulon Jones finished off the win and sent the Broncos to "The Drive" against Cleveland in the AFC Championship.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Giants, 1986

FIRST MEETING: Week 12 in New York; 16-19 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: Super Bowl XXI in Pasadena; 20-39 loss

THE SKINNY: Two weeks after "The Drive," the Broncos encountered Phil Simms and the Giants for the Super Bowl. New York had squeaked by Denver in Week 12 at the Meadowlands on the way to a 14-2 season and trailed the Broncos 10-7 in the second quarter of the championship game. Simms' great day (22-of-25 for 268 and three TDs) ultimately took the Giants to victory.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Seahawks, 1983

FIRST MEETING: Week 10 in Seattle; 19-27 loss

SECOND MEETING: Week 12 in Denver; 38-27 win

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Wild Card in Seattle; 7-31 loss

THE SKINNY: Then division rivals, the Seahawks and Broncos split two regular-season meetings in a three-week span, as each team won its home game. The pair later earned each of the AFC's Wild Card berths and squared off on Christmas Eve in the Kingdome. Rookie QB John Elway replaced Steve DeBerg in the fourth quarter for his playoff debut, completing 10-of-15 passes for 123 yards. Ultimately, three turnovers proved too much for the Broncos to overcome.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Steelers, 1978

FIRST MEETING: Week 16 in Denver; 17-21 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Pittsburgh; 10-33 loss

THE SKINNY: In the regular season finale (there were no bye weeks in 1978), the Steelers managed a four-point victory in Denver with the AFC's top seed already secured. Two weeks later, the teams opened the playoffs against each other at Three Rivers Stadium. The Steelers' defense allowed 218 yards and Terry Bradshaw connected on a few long touchdown passes. The Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl.

**

OPPONENT AND SEASON: ** Steelers, 1977

FIRST MEETING: Week 8 in Denver; 21-7 win

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Divisional in Denver; 34-21 win

THE SKINNY: After losing in Denver by 14 in Week 8, the Steelers came to town to face the top-seeded Broncos on Christmas Eve in the Broncos' first-ever playoff game. Craig Morton threw two touchdowns and the Orange Crush defense forced four turnovers, including three interceptions of Terry Bradshaw. The Broncos handed the Steelers one of only two playoff losses Pittsburgh would suffer in a 15-game span from 1974-1979.

**

OPPONENT AND SEASON: ** Raiders, 1977

FIRST MEETING: Week 5 in Oakland; 30-7 win

SECOND MEETING: Week 7 in Denver; 14-24 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: AFC Championship in Denver; 20-17 win

THE SKINNY: Ken Stabler's Raiders traded wins with the Broncos in the regular season, as each team won on its rivals' home turf. The reigning Super Bowl Champion Raiders made their fifth-consecutive AFC Championship appearance on New Year's Day in Denver, but couldn't stop the Broncos. Haven Moses caught two TDs, including a 74-yarder in the first quarter, and Denver's D forced three turnovers in a narrow victory.

OPPONENT AND SEASON: Cowboys, 1977

FIRST MEETING: Week 14 in Dallas; 6-14 loss

PLAYOFF MEETING: Super Bowl XII in New Orleans; 10-27 loss

THE SKINNY: In the regular-season finale, with both teams having already locked up the top seeds in their conferences, backup QB Norris Weese played most of the snaps for Denver against Roger Staubach and the Cowboys. Four weeks later, Weese replaced Craig Morton in the Broncos' first Super Bowl appearance and cut the Cowboys' lead to 10 in the third quarter. But a 29-yard touchdown pass on a halfback option proved too much for the Broncos to overcome.

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