The Baltimore Ravens advanced to the divisional round of the American Football Conference, or AFC, playoffs with a convincing 24-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts, while the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Washington Redskins 24-14 to move into the divisional round of the National Football Conference, or NFC, playoffs.
Veteran linebacker Ray Lewis led the Ravens on defense Sunday in what many fans had feared might be his last game following his decision to retire at the end of this season, while wide receiver Anquan Boldin paced the offense with a brilliant performance.
The Ravens will play the Denver Broncos, who at 13-3 had the best record in the National Football League and clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, next weekend.
The Broncos beat the Ravens 34-17 three weeks ago in their regular season match-up.
The focus will be on Lewis and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who has had a stellar comeback season and is a candidate for Most Valuable Player (MVP), when the two teams square off at Denver's Mile High Stadium next Saturday.
In NFC action, rookie quarterback Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to a win over the Redskins in Washington.
Rookie Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, who made the Pro Bowl thanks to his dazzling playmaking ability, was unable to dent the Seahawks' tough defense and Washington's Super Bowl dreams were dashed.
RGIII went out in the 4th quarter with a knee injury, leaving FedEx Field silent.
Back-up quarterback Kirk Cousins, another rookie, took over for RGIII, but he completed just 3 of 10 passes for the Redskins (10-7).
The Seahawks were led by Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch, who carried the ball 20 times for 131 yards, with one touchdown.
Lynch scored on a 27-yard run with 7:08 left in the game, putting the Seahawks (12-5) up 21-14.
The Redskins tried to mount a comeback, but Griffin, who had hurt his knee a month ago, hurt himself on a busted play.
Wilson completed 15 of 26 passes for 187 yards and had 67 yards rushing on 8 carries, keeping the Redskins' defense off-balance all day.
The Seahawks will play the Atlanta Falcons, who finished the regular season at 13-3, next Sunday at the Georgia Dome in the first meeting this season between the teams. EFE