By Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir
The Redskins were one and done in the playoffs while other teams play on. Redskins reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler pick the divisional round games this weekend. Here they pick the AFC games:
Ravens at Broncos (Saturday, 4:30 p.m., CBS)
El-Bashir: When these teams met a month ago in Baltimore, MVP candidate Peyton Manning and the high-octane Broncos (30.1 points per game) shredded the Ravens 34-17. All indications are that Manning and Denver’s second-ranked defense are primed to administer another whupping. They’re coming off a bye, have won 11 in a row and are 13-3 all-time at home in the postseason. Also, temps aren’t expected to get out of the teens. The only way the Ravens keep it close is if Joe Flacco and Ray Rice have huge performances. In the prior meeting, though, Flacco completed just 50-percent of his passes and Rice was limited to 38 yards.Broncos 34, Ravens 20
Tandler: The only thing I see working in the Ravens’ favor is that those frigid temperatures in the Mile High City are not exactly Peyton Manning weather. In the postseason in Indy thrived first in the RCA Dome and then in Lucas Oil Stadium. When he played in more hostile weather such as what he would encounter in Foxboro, he struggles. This doesn’t mean that I don’t expect the Broncos to win, just that I think they will score as much as Tarik thinks they will. Broncos 21, Ravens 10
Texans at Patriots (Sunday, 4:30 p.m., CBS)
El-Bashir: The only offense in the postseason more prolific than Denver’s is New England’s. The Patriots averaged an eye-popping 34.8 points per game during the regular season, and there’s no reason to believe Tom Brady won’t carve up the Texans’ defense for a second time in a month. On Dec. 10, Brady tossed touchdowns to Brandon Lloyd, Donte Stallworth and Aaron Hernandez (two) in a 42-14 victory that was over before halftime. Matt Schaub and the Texans advanced last week by squeaking past the Bengals, but they’re only 2-2 since last month’s embarrassment at Foxboro, where, by the way, the Pats are 13-3 all-time.Patriots 38, Texans 24.
Tandler: When this matchup was coming up on Monday night football a month ago it was one of the most highly anticipated games of the season. Now, it looks like the divisional playoff matchup most likely to be a rout. Maybe if Arian Foster can get it rolling on the ground the can shorten the game and steal a win by getting a few takeaways. But it is far more likely that Tom Brady will find Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernadez, and Wes Welker time and time again and it won’t matter what Foster does. Patriots 42, Texans 21