Week 3 Preview: Texans vs. Ravens

| September 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

ravensWeek 3 Preview:  Texans vs. Ravens

Houston Texans (2-0)

AT

Baltimore Ravens (1-1)

Sunday at 1pm, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD

Line:  Houston -2.5

Anyone who is familiar with Facebook knows of “Throwback Thursday,” which is when Facebook users post pictures from years past. On Sunday afternoon the Ravens will have their own version of “Throwback Thursday” when they induct Ray Lewis into the Ring of Honor and welcome back Ed Reed, albeit in a Houston Texans uniform. I have never been one to cheer for the other team, regardless if a former Raven is on it, but if Reed plays he definitely deserves  to be cheered for when he is introduced before the game… if he steps between the lines that is a different story.

As for the game, both teams come into it off “ugly” wins and also with injuries to major players on their offense in Ray Rice and Andre Johnson. It is likely Johnson will play, but Rice is a much bigger question mark. No matter how people try and spin it, the offense is better when Ray Rice plays and gets a lot of touches. The Ravens have never lost against the Texans at home, but that beating they got in Houston last year should be in the front of their minds and give the Texans the confidence to know they can win. The winner of this game likely could end up with a 1st round playoff bye. So, who will that be?

Here is my take on the game:

Ravens offense vs. Texans defense 

Certainly there is a lot of talk about the Texans defense with people wondering if Ed Reed will play, however that should be the last thing the Ravens coaches worry about. They need to figure out how to stop JJ Watt and Brian Cushing and figure out a way to score more than 14 points like they did last week.

The Texans defense is good but they have allowed 52 points in their first two games to offenses that are not in the upper echelon of the league.  The Ravens have yet to show a lot of balance and, regardless of what team you face, if you do not show balance on offense it will be tough to move the ball. The Texans have only yielded 156 yards and just under 100 yards per game thorough their first two games.  Without Ray Rice the Ravens will likely have a hard time moving the ball on the ground which will allow the Texans defense to pin their ears back and focus on stopping the pass.  Ed Reed playing would actually be a good thing for the Ravens offense but, either way, they are likely in for a long day.

Advantage: Texans

Texans offense vs. Ravens defense

The Ravens defense has given up 49 points in one game and 6 points their other game, so which game is more of what we can expect? While it was the Browns offense that the Ravens held to 6 points, I think their defense will be more at the level they showed in week 2 than they did in week 1, but they will be facing a much better offense this week than they did last week.

I honestly don’t know what to think about this Texans offense. We all thought Andre Johnson was washed up and then he had a great year last year, Arian Foster seems to be on the decline, Matt Schaub is good, not great, and they have no proven number two receiver, yet they have scored at least 30 points in both games this year.  I believe their offense is formidable but the competition they faced in the first two games is not as good as what they will face Sunday.

Getting pressure on Schaub and shutting down Andre Johnson will be the key for the Ravens defense.  I think the Texans are very balanced and should be able to move the ball on the Ravens defense. DeAndre Hopkins could be a major factor.

Advantage: Texans

Special Teams

It is very rare to see the Ravens not have an advantage in special teams given how good Justin Tucker has been, but Tucker missed two field goals last week which kept the game close. It will be interesting to see how he responds this week. I personally think Tucker will be fine and the Ravens have the advantage at kicker because Randy Bullock of the Texans is just 1 for 5 on field goals this season.  Nobody has yet to step up to fill Jacoby Jones shoes for the Ravens, while Keshawn Martin has been very solid for the Texans.  If this game is close late, field position and the kicking game will make a difference and the Ravens have the better kicker by far while the Texans have the better return man.

Advantage: Even

Prediction 

Let’s see here, I broke down three aspects of the game and gave the advantage to the Texans in two of them and a tie in the other. So clearly I am predicting a blow out in this? Not necessarily.

The Ravens are at home, generally play to the level of their competition, have the emotion of Ray Lewis being inducted into the Ring of Honor and revenge on their mind. These factors mean this will be a close game. Honestly, until the Texans prove themselves to me, it is hard for me to put them as one of the elite few teams in the league, based on their collapse last year and their first two games this year.

Overall I think Houston is the better team and they should come out on top, but it would not surprise me at all to see the Ravens come out of this game victorious. This game will go down to the final few minutes but ultimately I don’t know if the Ravens offense can make enough plays to win the game.  I hope I am wrong.

Texans 27, Ravens 23

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

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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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