Before the third meeting of the season in the AFC Divisional Playoffs on Sunday, there would be no balloons or bouquets exchanged between San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos.
Denver (13-3) is the No.1 in the AFC, yet the rivals of West division divided the regular-season games including the winning of Chargers' 27-20 at Mile High.
As original members of the American Football League from its 1960 startup, the Chargers and Broncos will meet each other in the postseason for the first time. They will kick off at 4:40 p.m. ET at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.
"We know each other. They know us as we know them. Personnel-wise," said Eric Weddle, the Chargers safety. “We held them to 28 and 20 points in both games. It's going to be a great game and great battle. You can not predict. It could be a low-scoring game or it could be a shootout. That's the great thing about the playoffs."
During the regular season, the Broncos got 606 points and set an NFL record, and their quarterback Peyton Manning set both single-season league records by passing for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns.
And there come the good news for the Broncos and coach John Fox during the two-week break that the wide receiver Wes Welker was cleared. With a concussion, the Wes missed the final three games of the regular season including the second San Diego game -- but Denver could be forgiven if it was less than happy about drawing the Chargers again.
That’s not just that the Broncos lost to Chargers at home earlier this month; but it's that Broncos have failed six of their past eight games to the Chargers in Denver. What’s more, San Diego is 2-0 against Manning in the playoffs. Manning has eight postseasons but all were one-and-done shows, which including an overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens with 38-35 at home to end last season.
"The first lesson we really learned was how to play as a team. We have to play for 60 minutes. And nobody is going to give up as it is a do-or-die thing. The main thing to us is playing 60 minutes and ensuring we leave everything out on the table." said Demaryius Thomas, the All-Pro wide receiver, of the Broncos' approach after the unsatisfying loss to the Baltimore Ravens last January.
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