Today marks the second loss in a row for the Baltimore Ravens, this time at the hands of Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. This loss is especially meaningful to the Patriots, as the Ravens are now a full game behind them and New England is now completely in control of its own destiny in locking up a first round bye. There are some tough games on the horizon, but all of them are winnable, and if all goes well, the Patriots will run the table over the next four weeks and lock in at least a 2 seed in the AFC.
Based on what I've seen over the past few weeks, the only team in the NFL that really worries me is the Broncos. Peyton Manning is playing at his usual All-Pro level, and Denver's defense is extremely effective when playing with a lead. I personally want no part of the Broncos at any other location than Gillette Stadium, and I think in order to make sure that happens the Pats are going to have to win out. While next's week's Broncos/Ravens matchup is sure to be a tough game, honestly all I've seen out of Baltimore as of late are runs to Ray Rice and a bunch of sideline fade routes to Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin; my money is on Denver next week. If the Patriots can get a first round bye and homefield advantage in the Divisional Round, I really like their chances.
First thing's first, though: bring on the Texans!