Texans’ Victory Means Patriots Will Host Broncos-Steelers Winner in Divisional Round

Texans' Victory Means Patriots Will Host Broncos-Steelers Winner in Divisional RoundWhile the Patriots still don't know their first playoff opponent, the field has at least been narrowed.

The third-seeded Texans knocked off the Bengals 31-10 on Saturday to lock up a trip to Baltimore for the divisional round. That means the Patriots will host either the fourth-seeded Broncos or fifth-seeded Steelers next Saturday at 8 p.m.

The Broncos and Steelers play at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in Denver.

The Patriots were handed their most thorough beating of the season when they visited Pittsburgh in Week 8. The Steelers' defensive strategy was altered from previous meetings, and their combination of man coverage and a physical approach with the Patriots' receivers threw off quarterback Tom Brady and the offense.

The Patriots erased an ugly start to throttle the Broncos, 41-23, in Week 15. Brady had 320 yards, two passing touchdowns and one rushing score, and tight end Aaron Hernandez had a career day with nine receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown.

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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