First off, now that they have home field advantage, the Patriots will be a heavy favorite no matter whom they face in the second round of the NFL playoffs. For kicks, though, let's break down who the Patriots match up against best between the #3, #4, and #5 seeds from most favorable to least favorable:
Obviously, the chances of the Patriots playing the Colts in the 2nd round are less than slim, seeing as both underdog road teams would have to win in the first round. However, if the Patriots were to get this match up, they would welcome it with open arms.
Any time you send a rookie quarterback and a 21st ranked defense on the road to face Tom Brady and a Belichick led defense, you’re in for a world of trouble. The Patriots showed that in their 59-24 shellacking of the Colts in week 11.
Don’t blame Luck if the Colts continue to lack success at Foxboro; even his predecessor, the great Peyton Manning, is only 2-9 there.
Despite having a solid running game and a once solid defense, I don’t think the Texans scare the Patriots at all.
I believe the only chance the Texans had at getting through the second round of the playoffs went out the window when they gave up home field advantage in the last week of the season. Not only that, but the Texans have been reeling for a while, dropping 3 out of their last 4, including an embarrassing 42-14 loss at the hands of the New England Patriots.
The chances of the Texans overcoming recent demons, going back to Foxboro, and upsetting a rested New England team are about as good as Tim Tebow’s chances of starting in New York next year.
After dropping 4 out of their last 5 and backing into the playoffs, one might think that the Ravens are also a good matchup for the Patriots. History might tell us something else, though.
Brady has struggled over the last 2 playoff games against the Ravens defense, going 1-1 and throwing 5 INT. Not only that, but the Ravens beat the Patriots earlier this year in Foxboro in a game that the Ravens offense put up 31 points in.
Now, do I think this is the same Ravens team that beat the Pats earlier this year and dominated Brady over their last two playoff meetings? No, but I do believe the Ravens are the only one of these three teams that could go into Foxboro and really believe they can come out with a win.
Follow Cole Stevenson on Twitter: @Cole_Stevenson