Who will the Baltimore Ravens play next in the NFL Playoffs?

The Baltimore Ravens are advancing to the AFC Championship Game. Who will they face next?

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The fourth-seed Houston Texans entered the Divisional Round as the AFC's Cinderella team. First-year head coach DeMeco Ryans, a likely nominee for Coach of the Year, inherited a team with a 3-13-1 record and led them to their first division title since the 2019 season. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud finished the regular season with 4,108 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in one of the most impressive seasons ever by a rookie quarterback.

There were low expectations for the Texans in the postseason, but they caught the attention of the national audience in a dominant 45-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Stroud passed for three touchdowns as he became the youngest quarterback to win a playoff game in NFL history. Still, history didn't favor Stroud — few rookie quarterbacks have ever won more than one playoff game.

The Baltimore Ravens put an end to the Texans storybook season at M&T Bank Stadium. In a lopsided 34-10 victory, the AFC's No. 1 seed showed why they finished the 2023 regular season with the league's best record. The Baltimore defense stifled Stroud and held the Texans offense to just a field goal. Houston's only touchdown came from Steven Sims' 67-yard punt return for a touchdown.

This game marked the ninth time that Baltimore has scored 30 or more points this season. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 16-of-22 pass attempts for 152 passing yards and had 11 carries for 100 rushing yards. He finished with four total touchdowns — a pair through the air and on the ground.

The Ravens offense got off to a slow start, but looked nearly unstoppable in the second half. Jackson's most impressive drive came early in the fourth quarter. He led the Ravens on a 12-play, 93-yard drive that culminated with a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Isaiah Likely, extending Baltimore's lead to 24-10.

Who will the Baltimore Ravens face next? The Kansas City Chiefs

The Ravens will advance to the AFC Championship Game, where they will face the winner of Sunday night's AFC Divisional Round matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills.

While Houston's promising young quarterback failed to find an answer against Baltimore's defense, the AFC Championship Game will be a tougher test for the Ravens. Both Kansas City and Buffalo have veteran quarterbacks that are capable of explosive games. Baltimore's offense will have to get off to a faster start than they did against Houston to avoid falling behind in the first half — especially if they don't want to become one-dimensional.

After the game, Jackson was asked what he's looking forward to most in the AFC Championship Game. "Playing in it," Jackson answered.

This will be Jackson's first conference championship appearance since he was selected in the 2018 NFL Draft. Despite an electric start to his career, Jackson has faced criticisms for his lack of postseason success.

The good news is that the AFC Championship will take place at M&T Bank Stadium — the road to the Super Bowl officially goes through Baltimore.

UPDATE: Kansas City's win over the Bills in Buffalo officially sets up a matchup between the Chiefs and Ravens in the AFC Championship Game.

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