Looking back, difficult as it may be, the Broncos doomed themselves by dominating the Baltimore Ravens four weeks before when they played them again.

It was mid-December of last season, and the Broncos had the Ravens whipped 31-3 midway through the third quarter before coasting to a 34-17 win.

When the teams met again in a second-round AFC playoff game Jan. 12, the Broncos tried telling themselves the Ravens weren't the same team, that they had revamped their offensive line.

But deep down, Broncos players weren't fooled. They knew they were the better team. Considerably better.

Problem was, the Broncos didn't play better, and they lost — 38-35 in double overtime to the Ravens in the playoffs.

Now the Broncos say they have learned their lesson.

"More than anything, it's the feeling," Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme said. "The feeling of defeat. It was not a good feeling losing a game like that. This year, it's a whole new thing. We're going to focus on getting better this week — focus on things we can correct in our game."

Once again, the Broncos have earned the No. 1 AFC playoff seed and don't have to play in the first round to reach the second.

There are many reasons the Broncos believe it will be different this time, starting with they shouldn't be overconfident. The Broncos will play a week from Sunday, on Jan. 12, against No. 4-seeded Indianapolis, No. 5 Kansas City or No. 6 San Diego.

Those teams have a combined 3-2 record against a Broncos team that went 10-1 against the rest of the league. The Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers each beat the Broncos this season.

Kansas City lost twice to Denver but both were tightly contested and both games turned on Chiefs turnovers deep in Broncos' territory.