ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --In the NFL, there is usually a 24-hour rule where teams can enjoy a win before moving on to the upcoming opponent.
This week for the Broncos, despite clinching the AFC West with a 31-23 win over Tampa Bay, that rule was out the window as the team immediately refocused on its Week 14 game that will kick off just 97 hours and 12 minutes after the final whistle sounded in Sunday's victory.
"With that Thursday night game it really is hard to think about anything else with this short week," quarterback Demaryius Thomas said following the game. "But it certainly feels good to get the win today and to guarantee a playoff spot."
With the condensed schedule, Monday was treated like a typical Tuesday with the players off except for those needing treatment.
"Heal up -- cold tub, ice pack, whatever you want to do," defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson said. "Get ready for Oakland week."
The team will return to Dove Valley on Tuesday to begin preparing for Thursday's game on an accelerated time frame designed to cram an entire week's worth of planning into one-and-a-half days before the team's flight leaves for Oakland Wednesday afternoon.
"(The schedule changes) quite a bit because to answer the bell of a physical game that quickly, you have to modify your schedule," Fox said on Monday. "Our quality control coaches jumped ahead last week to help in the game planning. Today's our Tuesday, so players have today off and then we'll practice Tuesday, Wednesday, get on the plane and head to Oakland."
Denver and Oakland have already squared off once this season, with the Broncos earning a 37-6 win at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Week 4.
The fact that the Broncos coaching staff has already gameplanned for the Raiders once this season will help the short-week prep, as there is familiarity between the division rivals.
"Teams change a little bit, so you redo everything as far as your breakdown," Fox said. "There are minor roster changes or injuries, maybe a guy who was injured last time is back in now. From that standpoint, there are minor changes, but it does help. It'll help both sides."
Fox said the team would "tone down" the on-field time, concentrating more on mental preparation for this week's game. The team will not practice in pads at all this week as players get their bodies ready for another physical game on Thursday night.
With the Broncos currently in a three-way tie for the AFC's No. 2 seed, cornerback Champ Bailey knows the team will be motivated to extend its seven-game win streak, despite the quick turnaround.
"It's a short week," Bailey said. "It is what it is. It's the nature of our job. We've just got to go out and play when we're called on. That's what we're going to have to do this Thursday. We'll be ready to go."