Even with countless hours of game-planning, scheming and concocting a puzzle of X's and O's, Broncos coach John Fox believes that football, even at the highest level, is a rather simple game.
"Whoever executes on that given day usually wins the game," Fox said this week when asked about Saturday's rematch with Baltimore in a 2:30 AFC division-round playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Top-seeded Denver dominated the Ravens 34-17 a month ago in Baltimore. But, Fox said, the past is of little consequence in this meeting.
The Ravens have several players back from injury, including future hall of fame linebacker Ray Lewis, and "each one of these (meetings) takes on its own personality," Fox said.
Denver is a 9½-point favorite, and it may come down to the Broncos just playing their game — and not giving the Ravens any help with turnovers or, yes, poor execution.
"We believe we can compete better against them (time time)," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said this week. "Give (the Broncos) credit, they came in there (in Baltimore) and played a whale of a football game.
"They kept the pressure on us — all three phases. In the end, they were able to extend the lead. That's something that we are just going to have to do a better job of dealing with."
The weather? Don't ask. With 90 minutes to go before kickoff, it was reported by weather.com that Denver's temperature was 10 degrees.
Much has been made about Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning being winless in three prior playoff games that were under 40 degrees at kickoff. But Manning, who has been wearing a glove on his throwing hand during play, and other Broncos players shrugged off questions regarding any potential effects of the cold.
It's the same for both teams, they say. And, unlike Baltimore , the home team won't feel any effects of altitude.
Ravens veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin said this week that he was hoping Baltimore would draw the Broncos in the playoffs so the Ravens could avenge what happened a month ago. The Broncos didn't seem to get caught up in any "verbal warfare," as Denver linebacker Von Miller called it.
Nothing external is needed to motivate this team, Miller said. There's already a sense of urgency to take advantage of the No. 1 seed that it took the Broncos an entire regular season to earn.
No surprises on the Denver inactive list:
QB Caleb Hanie
WR Andre Caldwell
CB Tracy Porter
FB Chris Gronkowski
OL C.J. Davis
TE Julius Thomas
NT Sealver Siliga
WR David Reed
S Omar Brown
CB Chris Johnson
LB Adrian Hamilton
OL Ramon Harewood
WR Deonte Thompson
DT Bryan Hall