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NFL play-offs: Kevin Cadle previews this weekend's AFC Divisional Round matches

Kevin Cadle Posted 10th January 2013 view comments

This weekend's play-off action begins with Ray Lewis' inspired Ravens traveling to the in-form Denver Broncos on Saturday at Mile High Stadium.

Sunday's match-up sees the New England Patriots host the Texans, one month after putting Houston to the sword at Gillette Stadium.

Baltimore Ravens (10-6) @ Denver Broncos (13-3) - Sat, 9.30pm Sky Sports 1HD

They can't work off of the fact it is Ray Lewis' possible last game every single week for the rest of the play-offs. I think it was a big emotional thing last week and now it's back to playing football.

Ray Lewis: Baltimore will be hoping to ensure the veteran does not retire this weekend in Denver

Ray Lewis: Baltimore will be hoping to ensure the veteran does not retire this weekend in Denver

What the Ravens need to do is get it solved because this is Peyton Manning versus Ray Lewis - when they both play Manning has been on the winning side seven out of nine times. Either they go out and get that solved first and foremost, or else. But it's certainly more of a positive for Baltimore to have Ray Lewis then not to have Lewis.

Being at home helps, but it's still a one-off. We've seen teams win 14 and 15 games a season, then last year the Green Bay Packers got beat at home in the play-offs. It doesn't mean a whole lot.

Denver are hot. They have won 11 in a row. For them to win the Super Bowl they will need to win 14 in a row. I see a hiccup coming somewhere. This could be the hiccup.

Denver are one of those teams whose preparations will be top notch. They always are when you've got a guy like Peyton Manning. For the Ravens, they need to meet or exceed the preparations that Manning has, compared to their usual preparation.

Kev's Preference: This week I'm going with the teams I'd like to see win and I'd like to see the Baltimore Ravens win.

Houston Texans (12-4) @ New England Patriots (12-4) - Sun 9.30pm Sky Sports 2HD

The Patriots put a nice little beat down on them last month, but that means absolutely nothing. Houston had fallen into a funk for a minute, but slowly they are getting out of it.

It was a big win for the Texans last week, where their defence came to life against Cincinnati. I think they needed to have that performance. Against the Bengals their offensive line did a tremendous job as well.

Offensively they have to be ready to finish, which they didn't do against Cincinnati, but I think the Bengals' defence is far superior to what New England's defence is.

ThTexans have got a great receiver in Andre Johnson and it's going to be a nice little match-up with him and Aqib Talib. They've also got Arian Foster, who is one of the top backs in the NFL. Matt Schaub has to have a nice game.

The Texans can't end up with four or five field-goals. They had four field goals against Cincinnati. They can't get field goals against Tom Brady, they've got to finish and come up with touchdowns.

Kev's Preference: Houston Texans

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