Coming off 2 straight come from behind wins the Houston Texans have the 1-1 Baltimore Ravens next on their schedule. The Super Bowl champs will be looking to come out and get a win on their home field. This rebuilt Ravens team hasn’t looked as good as they were last season on offense or defense, and the Texans will be looking to show they’ve closed the gap between themselves and the top tier in the AFC.
Keys to the offense:
Arian Foster: While Foster has been splitting carries with his back up Ben Tate to start the season I think he’ll see an increased workload in this game. Foster loves playing against top teams in the league. Last week Foster started to get into his groove last week to finish the game against Tennessee while Tate was hot early. I expect Foster to catch some passes too Sunday. The Ravens will load the box and force the Texans to throw the ball, but this should get some mismatches with a single LB being responsible to cover Foster out of the backfield.
Andre Johnson: The Texans WR has started the season playing very good. He caught 8 passes for 76 yards before being sidelined after a hard hit from Titans S Bernard Pollard. The last 2 times these have played Johnson’s been a big factor, with 17 catches and 197 yards. If the Ravens decide to not double down on Johnson he could have another big game on Sunday.Offensive line play: With All Pro LT Duane Brown not likely to play nursing a turf toe injury it’ll be vital others can step up their play this week against an aggressive Ravens defense. If Brown doesn’t play Ryan Harris will get the start in his place. Harris was a free agent signing in 201, and has been a key addition to the Texans. He’ll have his hands full with Terrell Suggs this week. Along with Suggs Elvis Dummervil can also get to the QB. The right side of the Texans O line will need to play a great game too. If the Texans can’t keep Matt Schaub clean their chances of winning won’t be too high.
Keys to the defense:
Defensive backs play: The Texans have a pretty veteran filled DB unit. The youngest starter being Kareem Jackson playing in his 4th season. They’ll need to be on their game this week with RB Ray Rice nursing his injured hip. The Ravens will probably go out and try to get an early lead through the air. After allowing Phillip Rivers to throw for 4 TD’s in a half in week 1 they played much better against Jake Locker and the Titans. This will be a game they’re tested in, if they can answer the call the Texans should have a great chance at a big road win.
Pressure Joe Flacco: The last time Joe Flacco played this
Wade Phillips Texans defense he struggled mightily. To the tune of 21-43 for 147 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT’s during their game in 2012 where the Texans won 43-13. Flacco never looked comfortable in the pocket that game, JJ Watt and the Texans defense made sure of that. Watt tipped a Flacco pass that was returned for a score by CB Jonathan Joseph. If Flacco is allowed to stand in the pocket and make uncontested throws he’ll probably have a good game. The Texans defense needs big plays from guys like Earl Mitchell and Whitney Mercilus this week with big names like JJ Watt and Brian Cushing being game planned for.