Ravens and Packers see off rivals in key fixtures
The Baltimore Ravens pounded the Indianapolis Colts 24-9 on Sunday to set up a meeting with the Denver Broncos in the second round of the playoffs.
Joe Flacco completed 12 of 23 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns for a Ravens team that limped into the playoffs with losses in four of their last five regular-season games.
Flacco, who became the first quarterback to earn at least one play-off win in each of his first five years, averaged more than 12 yards a completion in the AFC wild-card game.
His favourite target was Anquan Boldin, who caught five passes for 145 yards, including an 18-yard strike in the fourth quarter that gave the Ravens their 24-9 lead.
On Saturday, the Green Bay Packers eased past the Minnesota Vikings and into the second round of the play-offs with a 24-10 home victory that sets up a mouthwatering clash with the San Francisco 49ers.
The Vikings were forced to start back-up quarterback Joe Webb, who had not attempted a pass in the regular season, after starter Christian Ponder was ruled out with an elbow injury and that had a big impact on the outcome.
Webb struggled to get the Vikings offence going despite a promising start which resulted in a field goal on Minnesota’s first drive.
The Houston Texans used a stifling defensive performance to snap a late-season skid and defeat the visiting Cincinnati Bengals 19-13 in the game that kicked off the NFL post-season.
Houston stopped the Bengals attack cold and used a blend of the run and pass to dominate the game. Running back Arian Foster ran for 140 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Matt Schaub completed 29-of-38 passes for 261 yards.