The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, and that means we have officially determined one of the two Divisional round matchups in the AFC. Next Saturday afternoon at 4:35 p.m. ET, the Ravens will travel to New England to take on the number one seeded Patriots. And you know what that means: with a win tomorrow over the Bengals, the Indianapolis Colts would travel to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the Divisional round of the playoffs on Sunday at 4:40 p.m. ET.
Of course, with everything we're talking about here it first starts with the Colts winning tomorrow, which is no guarantee. That's the focus right now, as the Colts have to win first. But things couldn't be shaping up any better for Indy than they are right now. First, they get the Bengals in the Wild Card round of the playoffs instead of the Steelers, which was huge. Then, the Ravens win and will travel to New England, meaning that the Colts wouldn't have to go there if they were to win. And Baltimore certainly has a great shot against the Patriots - this will mark the fourth time in the last six years that the Ravens and Patriots have met in the playoffs, and the Ravens have won two of the three previous games. The Ravens match up well with the Patriots and, while New England is a very good team, Baltimore certainly stands a great shot. And so if the Ravens were to win in the divisional round and knock out the Patriots and if the Colts could then defeat the Broncos (neither of which would be givens but both of which would definitely be possible), Indianapolis would actually host the AFC Championship game against a Ravens team that they defeated 20-13 earlier in the season at Lucas Oil Stadium.
So yes, there's still a lot left to be figured out, especially relating to the Colts and to them taking care of business tomorrow. But things are playing out as well as possible for the Colts so far. And if they win tomorrow, it'll be Colts versus Broncos and Andrew Luck versus Peyton Manning in a game that, while Indy wouldn't be favored, is one that'd definitely be winnable.
But first? The Colts are on to Cincinnati.