Seattle Seahawks quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is a six-year veteran of the NFL. Last week, the former Clemson quarterback went 3-1 during the opening round of the NFL Playoffs. Whitehurst breaks down today's AFC and NFC playoff games.
Houston at Baltimore (1 p.m., WCSC-TV)
Houston offense vs. Baltimore defense
Houston QB T.J. Yates did exactly what the Texans needed him to do last week, manage the game and don't make any big mistakes. Now, can he do it two weeks in a row against one of the best defenses in the NFL? RB Arian Foster is an elite running back in the league. WR Andre Johnson looks like he's back to 100 percent.
The Ravens are just a nasty bunch on defense. They try to intimidate you from the opening kickoff. Football is a physical game, but the Ravens take that to a whole other level. OLB Terrell Suggs should be the defensive player of the year in the NFL.
Baltimore offense vs. Houston defense
Much like Matt Ryan in Atlanta, I think this game is a referendum on Ravens QB Joe Flacco. He had a good year, but he needs to take that next step and become an elite QB in the league. To do that, he needs to win in the playoffs. RB Ray Rice is another underrated player. WR Anquan Boldin and WR Torrey Smith need to make a play or two downfield.
The Texans defense' played another solid game last week against Cincinnati. LB Brian Cushing had a Pro Bowl season, but didn't make it, so he'll have something to prove. They'll go after Joe Flacco with different blitz packages.
John Harbaugh doesn't get a lot of credit for being an elite coach. He has a lot of egos on this team and seems to manage them well. In three years, Gary Kubiak has made the Texans a division champion and a playoff team.
M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore is a pretty tough environment for any visiting team. That probably has as much to do with the Ravens as the fans or the stadium, and you never know what the weather will be like on the East Coast in January.
Baltimore will win if ...
Joe Flacco has a good game and the Ravens' offense is balanced. And the defense shows T.J. Yates what Ravens defense is all about.
Houston will win if ....
It can run the ball effectively with Arian Foster and T.J. Yates can manage the game without making that big mistake.
Baltimore 21, Houston 14
New York Giants at Green Bay (4:30 p.m., WTAT-TV)
Green Bay offense vs. New York defense
QB Aaron Rodgers is the best player in the NFL. Period. WR Greg Jennings might not be 100 percent, but it might not matter because the Packers have so many weapons.
The Giants have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL and they'll need it. DE Jason Pierre-Paul will have to have a big game for Giants to win.
Advantage: Green Bay
New York offense vs. Green Bay defense
New York QB Eli Manning still isn't getting the respect he deserves. He just goes out and has great game after great game. RB Ahman Bradshaw, and RB Brandon Jacobs really got the Giants running attack going last week.
The Packers' defense gives up a ton of yards, but they don't really worry about it because their offense can outscore anyone. The Packers can't let the Giants control the ball and shorten the game. CB Charles Woodson doesn't seem to get old and OLB Clay Matthews needs to get some pressure on Manning.
Advantage: New York
After a win this season, I saw Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy tell his team that "life is good" after like their sixth or seventh straight win. I loved it. Most coaches want you to grind it out all season, but he was telling his guys to enjoy it because it doesn't happen very often. Everyone used to hate New York coach Tom Coughlin, now they seem to love him.
Advantage: Mike McCarthy
Lambeau Field. Enough said, right? I can't think of a bigger home-field advantage in all of sports. The Packers seem to play at a different level when they are home.
Green Bay will win if ...
It goes out and plays its game, stop the run and protect Aaron Rodgers.
New York will win if ...
It can pressure Aaron Rodgers into making a couple of mistakes and shorten the game by running the football and make a couple of plays down the field in the passing game.
Green Bay 35, New York 24