The Ravens are headed to Indianapolis and the Jets are going to San Diego after both road teams won in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs.
Baltimore routed New England 33-14 on Sunday as the Patriots lost a postseason game at Gillette Stadium for the first time. Green Bay (11-5) and Arizona (10-6) meet later Sunday to determine which team faces the NFC’s top seed, the Saints (13-3), in New Orleans next weekend.
A Cowboys-Vikings matchup in Minnesota was already set after Dallas won a playoff game for the first time since 1996 on Saturday night.
The Ravens went ahead for good on the very first play, Ray Rice’s 83-yard touchdown run, and led 24-0 after one quarter. Baltimore forced Tom Brady into three turnovers on the first four possessions for the Patriots (10-7).
The Ravens (10-7) face the AFC South champion Colts (14-2) on Saturday in a rematch of their meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 22. Indy won 17-15 in a game in which its defense held the Ravens to a field goal after it had first-and-goal at the 1 in the fourth quarter.
“We’ll play our game against the Colts; it’ll be our will against their will,” Rice said. “It’ll be a fourth-quarter game. The Xs and Os will take care of themselves. Playoff football is a little different from regular season. In the regular season, those plays are not being made.”
The Cowboys’ 34-14 rout of Philadelphia sends them to the Metrodome for a meeting with Brett Favre and the Vikings (12-4) next Sunday.
The fifth-seeded Jets played error-free ball in frigid Cincinnati to beat the AFC North champion Bengals 24-14 Saturday afternoon.
In the first postseason game at Cowboys Stadium, Dallas (12-5) ended a six-game postseason losing streak — another defeat would’ve set an NFL record.
“Just keep trying to get better and eventually things will go your way,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “Going out there and playing the way we have lately is very exciting. If we just keep going forward, we got a chance.”
So do the Jets.
Three weeks ago, they appeared finished and even rookie coach Rex Ryan thought they were out of contention after falling to 7-7. But they beat Indy, which rested starters in the second half while ahead 15-10, and Cincy, which rested some key players all game.
Now, with their stingy defense and versatile running game, the Jets (10-7) look as formidable as Ryan has claimed they are. Their next test comes Sunday against the AFC West champion Chargers (13-3).
“This was a great team effort,” Ryan said. “We’re a good football team. If people don’t believe that, they soon will.”
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