Patriots will face Steelers or Broncos

January, 7, 2012
1/07/12
7:45
PM ET
So much for New England Patriots fans rooting for Andy Dalton.

The Houston Texans won their first ever playoff game over Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals in convincing fashion, 31-10. That means New England's next opponent will be determined in Sunday's wild-card matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) and Denver Broncos (8-8).

Patriots fans may now want to root for more Tim Tebow magic. New England (13-3) is trying to avoid being one-and-done for the third consecutive year, and the Patriots manhandled Denver, 41-23, in the regular season.

The reigning AFC champion Steelers would be the toughest possible matchup for New England in the divisional round. Pittsburgh beat New England, 25-17, in Week 8. The Steelers are hurting on offense. But Pittsburgh is a veteran team and a tough out for anyone in January.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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