FOXBORO -- Brian Waters played football in the AFC West for 11 years. You've got to assume he has some hatred banked for the Broncos, right?
"Not as much as I used to," Waters said Wednesday. "Being where I was before, that just kind of came along with the job. You kind of got accustomed to the fact that there were going to be certain rivalry weeks that things were going to be more emphasized."
Though the rivalry aspect is lacking in New England, Waters is expecting a dogfight Saturday night. He refused to be surprised at Denver's regular season highs and recent Wild Card win over Pittsburgh. And all the pooh-poohing about the Broncos running a college-style option offense? Waters isn't listening. From what this Patriots O-lineman can see, Denver is getting by on something more tangible than Divine Intervention.
"If you watch them and really play close attention to them, they play the type of football that has always been very productive in the NFL," Waters said. "They run the ball well, they move the ball in the run game, they get after the quarterback and they also stop the run. Theyre a very fast defense. They have some really good specialists, with a kicker who is able to kick the ball far and make lots of long field goals. They have a really good returner back there in Eddie Royal. They play the football game the way a lot of teams have played historically that have been productive."
New home team, same old mission of beating the Broncos.
But there's one, big thing about this Denver matchup that escaped him in Kansas City: the chance at a conference championship. Waters has been to the Divisional playoffs before (the Chiefs lost to Indianapolis in 2003) and wants to step forward. He's excited, he's ready.
He hopes the rest of New England can feel it as the Broncos ride into town.
"I expect it to be electric. Its the playoffs. Its a great opportunity for everybody, whoever is touching that field from both sides. I think the energy will be high. I expect it to be as electric as its been. It was electric out there, so I expect it to be even better here."