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Super Bowl Predictions 2013: Projecting Which Team Will Emerge from AFC

Jan 12, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis on the field during the second quarter of the AFC divisional round playoff game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field.  Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIJanuary 13, 2013

The Baltimore Ravens are through to the AFC Championship game, and they will meet either the New England Patriots or the Houston Texans.

A remarkable game between Baltimore and the Denver Broncos ended with a 47-yard field goal from Justin Tucker in the second overtime, and now, Houston will travel to New England for the remaining AFC Divisional round matchup.

If the Texans and Patriots find a way to make their matchup anywhere near as exciting as the first AFC playoff game of the weekend, fans will not be able to leave their seats.

Here are my predictions for the two remaining AFC playoff games. 


No. 3 Houston Texans vs. No. 2 New England Patriots 

The Patriots certainly have a mental edge in this contest after routing the Texans 42-14 in Week 14. 

After arriving in Foxboro, Houston quickly found itself trailing and unable to put anything together offensively. The Patriots held a 21-0 lead at halftime and the Texans did not get on to the scoreboard until midway through the third quarter.

But Houston is far too talented to lose like this again, and it will put up a much better fight. J.J. Watt’s lackluster performance was a key factor that led to New England’s offensive success earlier this year, and he will not be pushed around so easily in this contest.

Still, with a vast amount of playoff experience and confidence from the previous meeting, the Patriots will come out on top.

Prediction: Patriots 31, Texans 24


No. 4 Baltimore Ravens vs. No. 2 New England Patriots

A quick reminder to all Ravens fans: Billy Cundiff is no longer with the team. Still, Baltimore will face a difficult challenge when it faces New England in the AFC Championship game for the second consecutive year. 

Ray Lewis' announcement that this will be his final season has lit a fire for the Ravens, and the team carried its momentum from Wild Card Weekend into Denver and upset the AFC's top seed. Joe Flacco and the offense were able to constantly get behind the Broncos defense, which fared better than New England's during the regular season. 

But the Patriots defense stepped up last year during the playoffs in order to help the team reach the Super Bowl, and it will do the same this year. In addition, the unit has added talent and has already shown improvement.

This game will be close, but it will not come down to another last-second field goal. In a tight contest, Tom Brady will make the plays necessary for the Patriots to return to the Super Bowl. 

Prediction: Patriots 27, Ravens 21

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