This is probably the one game in this whole divisional series that went exactly the way everyone figured. The Patriots put themselves in line to cash in Super Bowl tickets with a commanding win over the Houston Texans. It was the least surprising result of the four NFL playoff games played this weekend.
With the Falcons hanging on for a win, the Ravens pulling off an even more improbably victory in Denver, and the 49ers cashing in on the rampant talent display of Colin Kaepernick, New England lined up against a Texans team that has been flailing around for the last month. And it showed. Tom Brady sliced and diced the Houston defense for 344 yards and three touchdowns to win his 17th NFL playoff game. Wes Welker was the knife, hauling in six passes in the first half alone, leaving the Texans secondary exposed.
There’s a fly in thsi ointment though as Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski left the game with his left arm re-injured and early reports of it being broken put his availability for the AFC Championship in serious doubt.
New England will have to line up against Baltimore for the AFC Championship with Super Bowl tickets on the line again. the Ravens failed in that attempt last season but did win in Gillette Stadium in the regular season, a 23-20 victory in the third game of the 2012 NFL season.