Unlike the NFC, there were no surprises with the two AFC games during the NFL playoffs this weekend. As expected, the New England Patriots rolled on Saturday against the Denver Broncos, bringing "Tebow Time" to an end for this season. Then, on Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens squeaked past the Houston Texans, ending Houston's surprising run with T.J. Yates at the helm.
Saturday - Patriots 45, Broncos 10
All focus coming into this game was on Tim Tebow after what he did against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Tom Brady quickly changed that on Saturday night with what he did on the field. Brady threw five touchdown passes in the first half, three of which went to Rob Gronkowski. Brady added a sixth touchdown pass later in the game and even had a punt on third down in the fourth quarter to put an exclamation point on the impressive victory.
Tebow was shut down by the Patriots defense in this game. He managed only 136 yards passing on nine completions, and on the ground, he rushed for only 13 yards on five carries. Tebow couldn't solve the Pats defense on this day, and New England poured it on en route to a blowout victory.
Sunday - Ravens 20, Texans 13
After going up 17-3 in the first quarter, the Ravens looked like they were well on their way to a date with the Patriots in the AFC title game. In the end, they did win to secure that date, but it was not a smooth ride. The Texans got back in the game with a field goal and touchdown in the second quarter, making the score 17-13. This remained the score until Baltimore's Billy Cundiff hit a 44-yard field goal with just under three minutes to play in the game. The Texans had a couple chances to try and tie the game late, but Ed Reed and the Ravens defense made sure that didn't happen.
This Sunday - Ravens at Patriots
Two seasons ago, the Ravens went into Foxboro and thumped the Patriots 33-14 in the playoffs. That victory came in the wild-card round, and now the Ravens will need a win in the AFC championship game to clinch their first trip to the Super Bowl since winning it all back in the 2000 season. The Patriots, on the other hand, can clinch their first trip to the Super Bowl since the 2007 season with a victory.
To me, this game has all the makings of a blowout in the Patriots' favor. I know anything can happen on any given Sunday, but if Brady plays anything like he did on Saturday night, the Ravens don't stand a chance. While Baltimore does have a good defense, Joe Flacco and the offense looked lost for most of Sunday against Houston. I just don't see Flacco being able to keep up with Brady and the Patriots in this one.