Put on your ten-gallon hats and your cowboy boots, the Houston Texans are coming to town! You have every right to call me out on hitting that low hanging fruit, by the way. Facing the Texans this week is huge for three reasons:
A big game always has big matchups; here’s what to look for:
‘Big Mike’ against ‘Senor Swatt’, the 2012 Defensive Player of The Year has his sights set on Joe Flacco and there’s only one thing in his way: Michael Oher. Considered a failure at left tackle, Oher has turned himself into a more than respectable right tackle. One of the main reasons he was so bad on the left side was that he couldn’t contain the better pass rushers in the league and that’s exactly what he’s going up against. Even though Watt has been quiet so far this season, recording just 2 sacks so far this season, expect a lot of double teams with Marshal Yanda or a tight end and Oher on Watt.
I was impressed by the Ravens’ secondary against the Browns, bouncing back from the Peyton Manning picking them apart needed to happen and it did. That being said, the Texans have a good receiving corps; wide recievers Andre Johnson, who’s coming back from a concussion, and rookie DeAndre Hopkins, and tight end Owen Daniels. Matt Schaub, on the other hand, isn’t called ‘Captain Average’ for nothing, combine that with the fact he has a career 55% completion percentage and 6.4 yards per pass attempts against the Ravens, it’ll be interesting to see what he can do. Jimmy Smith covering Hopkins is something to watch as well, both are coming off impressive games and are looking for roles on their teams.
Ray Rice went down last week with a hip flexor and a lot of signs are pointing him to either not be active or, at least, be limited. That leaves Bernard Pierce left to carry the rock against a stout Texan defense. Not much else to say except that the Ravens cannot get predictable on offense, the Texans can easily get away stopping the run without stacking the box if they know it’s a running play. Flacco being on his game wouldn’t hurt either and helps to open up the defense for Pierce.
It wouldn’t be a homecoming if I didn’t mention this matchup. Ed Reed returns to town to help lead the Texans defense over the Ravens, and a lot of eyes will be on Flacco. Reed causes Quarterbacks to take that extra split second to make that decision and causes offenses to change their game plans regardless of age. The Ravens have had that on their side for the past ten years, now they are going to experience it first-hand. While Reed’s tackling ability is questionable, he will be playing deep midfield and that takes away the Ravens’ biggest weapon; the deep ball. A lot more conservative play calling will be seen against the Texans with Reed in. There’s also the off chance he doesn’t play at all and this section becomes meaningless.