The divisional round this year features three matchups where the teams have previously faced off in the regular season. In the case of the AFC, both favorites routed the underdogs in fairly recent games, leading to both Denver and New England being 9.5 point favorites.
The most obvious thing to consider is what has changed since the two teams last faced each other. Clearly, the Ravens will field a much healthier defense this time around. Last week was the first time this season that they had Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata on the field together. Denver is also stout on defense, having ranked second in the NFL in total defense this season. In their last game, only a big play during soft defense garbage time managed to push the game over. With the most noticeable change being the improvement in Baltimore's defense, I'm going to pick the under.
Pick: Under 46
On the other hand, it doesn't look like much has changed since these two teams last faced off. New England's offense continues to run smoothly while Schaub has continued his subpar play of late. While the Bengals played pretty good defense, what was most notable in last week's Houston win was their inability to execute in the red zone, going 1 for 4. That just won't cut it against the Patriots, who are all about bend-but-don't-break on defense.
Pick: NE -9.5