Ravens vs. Texans: Week 7 Preview

| October 20, 2012 | 0 Comments

Baltimore Ravens (5-1)

At

Houston Texans (5-1)

Sunday 1pm, Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX

I don’t think I have ever seen a game between two teams that are 5-1 where everyone is overwhelmingly choosing one team to win comfortably, but that is the case here. Not one person I have heard on the radio or television gives the Ravens any chance to win the game on Sunday… and why should they? The Ravens just lost Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb for the season, they are traveling on the road, their run defense has been like a sieve and they are facing maybe the best running back in football. To make matters worse, they are facing a relentless Houston pass rush. Certainly there is no way – on paper at least – the Ravens will win… but that’s why they the play the game.

Here is my take on the game:

Ravens offense vs. Houston defense 

I will admit I do have the Texans in one my fantasy leagues, but I always choose Ravens victories over fantasy victories so if the Texans defense got torched it wouldn’t bother me. That being said, this is a very good Houston defense, although they are banged up and the loss of Brian Cushing definitely hurts them. The strength of this defense is their rush ends and outside linebackers and they could wreak havoc on what is believed to be a below average offensive line of the Ravens. Stopping J.J Watt is the key, but that is easier said than done.  The Ravens may have to keep Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson in to block, eliminating two major weapons in the pass game.

If the Ravens can give Flacco time to throw I believe he can have success against a good, but not great, secondary. Jonathan Joseph is one of the better corners in the league but he certainly can be beat and is not 100 percent health-wise so the Ravens will not be scared to look in his direction.  Regardless of what defense they are playing, the more the Ravens let Ray Rice touch the ball, the more success their offense has. I believe the Texans defense is a little overrated and the Ravens offense is slightly underrated, but I still give a slight advantage to the Texans because of J.J Watt.

Advantage: Houston

Texans offense vs. Ravens defense

As a Ravens fan it bothers me to no end when people in the national media don’t watch a game and still refer to the Ravens defense as being vaunted and one of the best in football.  Watch some games, they are an offensive team now! While I would like this year’s defense to be more like some of the previous defenses, I understand it is an offensive game now and you have to be successful in spite of your defense.

Now I am going to contradict everything I just said and say that this Ravens defense needs to be better. They are what may be holding the Ravens back from being the best team in football.  Remember when it used to almost be impossible to rush for 100 yards on this team? Now, that is just a normal for a running back against this defense and unfortunately the Ravens biggest weakness plays right into the Texans biggest strength. Arian Foster will be the difference in the game. If the Ravens can contain him, they have a shot to win this game. If they can’t, they might as well just pack up and leave.  Outside of Foster, I do not believe anyone on this offense scares the Ravens. Andre Johnson is still a good wide receiver but he is on the back end of his career and Matt Schaub is no longer throwing the ball over the field like he was a few years ago. And, do the likes of Kevin Walter, Keyshawn Martin and Lestar Jean really scare the Ravens defense? I think not. However, we have seen tight ends kill this team so I believe Owen Daniels could be the biggest weapon for the Texans passing attack and he should be the biggest focus outside of Foster for the Ravens defense.

Advantage: Houston

Special Teams: 

Don’t look now, but the Ravens may actually be assembling a very good special teams unit. It has so far been responsible for two of the team’s five wins. Had Jacoby Jones not had the 108 yard kickoff return last week, the Ravens would have lost – plain and simple. Special teams changes games and the return games could be a major factor in this game.  Jacoby Jones is returning to Houston and the last time Texans fans saw him play for their team, he was dropping a punt in Baltimore which cost his team a trip to the AFC Championship. It will be interesting to see how Jones responds to what should be a less than welcoming crowd.

Advantage: Ravens

Prediction:

I know the past is the past but there is something to be said to the fact that the Texans have never beaten the Ravens at home or on the road, which has to be in the back of their minds even though this game will be won or lost on the field.  I do believe the Texans are a very good team, however I am not ready to anoint them the best in the AFC quite yet seeing as how they have beaten the Dolphins, Titans, Jaguars and Jets so far this season – not exactly the most formidable offenses in football! The Ravens will be able to score points on this defense and they will need to if they want to have a chance in this game.  Given the fact that nobody ismjn  giving them a shot at winning the game, I think the Ravens will respond and may end up winning.  I am picking the Texans just because I can’t see the Ravens stopping Foster, but it would not shock me in the least if the Ravens went into Houston and won. It would also shut a few national media members up, which is always a good thing.  I hope I am wrong, but I like the Texans in a close one.

Texans 27 Ravens 24

Follow Marco on twitter @mromanell and southbmore.com @southbmore1

 

About the Author:

I have spent my entire 30 years living in Maryland and I love everything about this city. Despite the bad reputation the city has, Baltimore will always be a special place to me and I love living here. There is nothing better then Sunday afternoons at M&T Bank Stadium and summer nights at Camden Yards when the Yard is packed. You can find me all over the city so don't hesitate to share your opinion of me good or bad. Who knows, if you see me out maybe I will buy you a Natty Boh. Lets go Ravens and Lets go O's!!! Follow me on Twitter at @MRomanell.
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