NFL Playoffs 2013: How Ravens matchup with Patriots, Texans

Doug Pensinger

The Baltimore Ravens await their opponent for the AFC Championship Game, but who is the easier matchup? That's up for debate, based on recent history.

The Baltimore Ravens are in the AFC Championship Game, after coming through with an upset in double-overtime against the Denver Broncos on Saturday. Linebacker Ray Lewis wlll play at least one more game before calling it a career and is just two wins away from another Super Bowl ring.

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Now, the Ravens await their opponents. On Sunday, the New England Patriots will play host to the Houston Texans to decide the other half of the game, and both opponents would be a handful for the Ravens.

And both teams were handfuls for the Ravens recently: just this season. Baltimore took on the Patriots in Week 3 and the Texans in Week 7. Below, we'll take a look at those games.

Week 3 vs. New England Patriots, Baltimore Wins, 31-30

Coming into this game, much of the focus was on Baltimore receiver Torrey Smith, who lost his younger brother in a motorcycle accident less than 24 hours prior to kickoff. Smith played with his team, and they benefited greatly, as he caught six passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

Baltimore managed to kick a field goal near the end of the game to seal the victory. New England had 10 penalties called against them, and coach Bill Belichick complained about them postgame. That being said, the Ravens were called for 14 penalties in the game, for 135 yards, and were still victorious.

It was all about the quarterbacks in that one, as Joe Flacco and Tom Brady combined for over 700 yards and four touchdowns. Still, it was about as close as you can get at this point, so a potential rematch is very much up in the air.

Week 7 at Houston Texans, Houston Wins, 43-13

Well, this one was a lot more lopsided. The Ravens were on a four-game winning streak, while the Texans were making an early bid for the best team in the NFL, and right about the time of this game was when most bought in on it.

Houston's offense actually put up some average numbers when you look at the top players. Matt Schaub threw for 256 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Arian Foster had a pair of rushing touchdowns and 98 yards.

But the Texans defense also found the end zone, as Johnathan Joseph returned an interception for a 52-yard touchdown.

Baltimore was unable to get much done on offense, as Flacco was consistently under pressure and unable to find his receivers. Ray Rice was held to just 42 yards rushing and the team was without Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb for the first time.

This was the first time the Texans ever beat the Ravens, who'd won the previous six matchups, including a matchup from the playoffs last season.

So who should they "want" to play?

If its as simple as they beat one team and lost to the other, than you might think a matchup with the Patriots is the best course of action. Of course, it's not that simple at all. The Patriots have been absolutely dominating the past few weeks, while the Texans finished the season losing three of their final four games, which forced them into a Wild Card matchup last week.

Of course, the Texans did win that Wild Card game, and in impressive fashion. They are battle-tested, while the Patriots are coming off a bye. Depending on how you feel about rusty-ness vs. resting is how you'll feel about the game. Right now, the Patriots do look like the better team, though. So they might just be hoping that the Texans pull off the upset.

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