By Ryan O'Halloran
Notes and observations from this weekend's AFC playoff games:
* Anybody who follows the Patriots knew they had a great plan as soon as tight end Aaron Hernandez appeared in a one-back formation. Given two weeks to prepare for an opponent his team faced just a month earlier, Bill Belichick pulled out all the stops with the offensive game plan. The Broncos had no chance and they didn't help themselves by playing zone coverage and allowing tight end Rob Gronkowski to roam free over the middle.
* I may sound like the devil here, but how can the Broncos realistically go into next year with Tim Tebow as their without-a-doubt starting quarterback? Granted, the Patriots actually played sound defensively but they weren't exactly stout during the regular season. It's hard to foresee an NFL team going into the year with a plan of, 1. Start Tebow and keep him in there if we get a lead or, 2. Start Tebow and if we fall behind, put the back-up in.
* Sunday's early game was dreadful to watch in person, but probably more interesting for those with a rooting interest in Houston or Baltimore. It looked like, well, a Redskins game. Few big plays. Mistakes. Turnovers. Failed short-yardage conversions. Unrecovered fumbles. The Ravens were extremely fortunate to win.
* Already looking ahead to Sunday, the Ravens PR staff threw out this statistic Monday morning. The Ravens are 7-0 this year against teams that finished the regular season with a winning record; New England is 0-2. My thought: The Patriots still have Brady.
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