Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/2/13
The Patriots took care of business on Sunday, thrashing the Dolphins to get themselves a first-round bye. But they’re still going to have to welcome a pretty good team to Gillette Stadium next Sunday in the divisional round of the playoffs. With the No. 2 seed, the Patriots are set up to play the highest remaining seed from this weekend, meaning the Texans (No. 3), Ravens (No. 4) or Colts (No. 5) could be coming north. The Patriots would likely be favored against all three teams, having beat the Texans and Colts resoundingly and only losing to the Ravens by one point in September, when both teams were very different. But one matchup may favor New England more than the others. If Houston beats the Bengals and then heads to Foxboro, the Patriots would once again have to face one of the AFC’s best defensive teams. J.J. Watt and Co. took a beating the last time they visited Gillette, but a second chance against the Pats could help the Texans figure out ways to get to Tom Brady and foil New England’s offensive attack. The Texans’ offense, which was inept the first time around and has been woeful in recent weeks, could also be more aggressive in a second matchup. Indianapolis, meanwhile, is likely hoping for a rematch after being dismantled in Foxboro, 59-24, on Nov. 18. That would, first of all, mean that Indianapolis got past the Ravens, and the 11-5 Colts would only be further playing with house money. After a surprising season in which Andrew Luck has quickly rounded into form, Indianapolis has shown it can stick with the big guns. The Patriots had Luck’s number in the first matchup and are always ready for the playoffs, but the Colts could be more competitive this time. Perhaps the most satisfy showdown for the Patriots would be a rematch with the Ravens. The Patriots were considerably weaker when the two met just three games into the season, while Baltimore was playing well across the board. Now, with longtime Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis talking retirement and Baltimore struggling to regain momentum after a late-season slide, the game promises to be full of emotion. The Patriots have always respected Baltimore, and a win over the Ravens would say a lot about the team’s title chances. All three matchups promise to be a good game, but what about the Patriots’ chances? Who should they want to play in the divisional round? Take Our Poll

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mike Trout to undergo MRI after suffering thumb injury

John Wall: Bench was cause of Wizards’ ‘downfall’

Arum says Pacquiao would fight McGregor if Mayweather won't

Aaron Judge hits first grand slam of his career

David Stern: Lakers could have had Chris Paul, GM panicked

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brandon Jacobs vows to 'expose' Jim Harbaugh, get him fired

Mike Zimmer won’t retire even if right eye goes blind

Kevin Love responds to Draymond Green’s ‘annihilation’ trash talk

Spike Lee deletes Instagram post saying Kaepernick signed with Seattle

Errol Spence is the real deal, takes down Kell Brook

Indians reveal Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field

Meet your Stanley Cup finalists: Nashville Predators

Getaway Day: There's a murderer's row in the NL West

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Meet your Stanley Cup finalists: Nashville Predators

Getaway Day: There's a murderer's row in the NL West

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker