So that's that. It's Houston at New England in the AFC Divisional Round. And I for one couldn't be happier.
I don't want to take too much from this afternoon's game, as each week represents a completely clean slate in the playoffs. But if this afternoon's matchup is any indicator, there was absolutely no way that the Bengals were going to march into Denver and take out the Broncos. Their offense couldn't move the ball, their pass protection was spotty, and their receivers couldn't create any separation. The Bengals actually played fairly well on the defensive side of the ball, but when your offense just can't get anything going, it's just a matter of time before you start to wear down.
On the other side of the ball, Houston looked very, very beatable. Aside from a handful of drives, the Texans couldn't really get much going offensively (8 for 18 on third down) and saw most of their offensive series end in field goals. Granted, the defense looked solid, but I'm not sure how much of that defensive performance can be attributed to the Texans as opposed to flat out poor play by the Bengals. Cincy played a lot of bunch formations, didn't spread the Texans out, and the playaction was rendered completely ineffective as Andy Dalton struggled tremendously to move the ball through the air. This game seemed like a mismatch from the start, and a contest that could have been over by halftime had Houston been able to get the ball in the end zone more consistently.
What I'm taking from this contest is that New England is about to face a team it already beat in the regular season, that has struggled down the stretch, and hasn't exhibited anything that makes me believe that they can come into Gillette Stadium and upset the Patriots on their own turf. Of course, I would have said the same thing about the Jets two years ago, so I'm not going to get too confident. But at the end of the day, this game went about as well as I could have hoped for.
Time to gear up for another great slate of games tomorrow. Let's go Ravens.