ENGLEWOOD – As the countdown to the Broncos’ playoff opener begins, here’s a few numbers to note as preparation begins in earnest:
15-13: Record of home teams — all of whom had first-round byes, obviously — in the divisional round since 2005.
5-2: Record of home teams in the divisional round that played on Saturday against a team that won the previous Sunday in that seven-year span.
4-0: The Broncos’ all-time playoff record when facing a team they defeated in a sole regular-season meeting. (NOTE: The Broncos beat the Raiders in the 1993 regular season, but lost the Week 18 rematch — yes, there were 18 weeks that year, because it was the season of the double-bye experiment — in Los Angeles and then lost the ensuing wild-card game there one week later.)
1-3: Peyton Manning’s record in the divisional round after a bye.
2-0: Manning’s all-time playoff record against the Ravens, including the only win a team of his had after a first-round bye, a 20-3 thumping of the Ravens on Jan. 16, 2010.
8-4: Denver’s all-time record in the divisional round.
7-2: Denver’s all-time division-round record at home.
7-5: Baltimore’s road playoff record, the second-best in the league. Baltimore and Carolina are the league’s only two teams with winning road postseason records for their history (Denver, by comparison, is 3-9 in postseason games on the road and hasn’t won a postseason game on enemy turf since the 1997 AFC Championship, having lost on the road in the 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2011 postseasons).
13-3: Denver’s home playoff record, which is the league’s best for any team with at least five home playoff games, tied with the New England Patriots and Washington Redskins. The Broncos have a five-game home postseason winning streak since the infamous divisional-playoff loss to Jacksonville on Jan. 4, 1997. In a quirk of fate, all of the Broncos’ home playoff losses came to teams that wore black helmets — the Steelers (Dec. 30, 1984 and Jan. 22, 2006) and the Jaguars (their helmets are a chrome teal/black mix now, but they were solid black at the time of their 30-27 win at Mile High Stadium).
4: Number of quarterbacks to lead their team to a Super Bowl in their first season with their club. But if you’re looking for reassurance, consider this: one of them was a Bronco (Craig Morton, 1977) and another played under current Broncos coach John Fox (Jake Delhomme, 2003). The others both had Baltimore connections — the Colts’ Earl Morrall in 1968 and the Ravens’ Trent Dilfer in 2000, who led them to a Super Bowl XXXV win in his only season there.
There were other quarterbacks who guided their teams to the Super Bowl in their first extensive work as starting quarterbacks with their respective clubs, most recently Rex Grossman with the Bears in 2006, but all of these were most often backups in previous years for their teams. That group includes Roger Staubach (1971), Vince Ferragamo (1979), Jim Plunkett (1980), Jeff Hostetler (1990), Kurt Warner (1999) and Tom Brady (2001).