BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 15: Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens is sacked by J.J. Watt #99 and Brice McCain #21 of the Houston Texans during the second quarter of the AFC Divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
The Baltimore Ravens offense struggled mightily against the Houston Texans in yesterday's 20-13 win, leaving many fans to lament the future if they have the same results against the New England Patriots next week in the AFC Championship Game. However, the Texans and Patriots have absolutely nothing in common on both sides of the ball and what happened today should give zero indication of what will happen next week in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
The Texans have one of the best defenses in the NFL, a great pass rush and athletic linebackers plus solid defensive backs. The Patriots defense has benefited all season with interceptions due to usually putting teams in the position to play catch-up, thus leading to the turnovers. However, their pass rush cannot compare to Houston's, nort can the rest of their defense in virtually every way, shape or form.
Likewise on offense, while the Texans have one of the best run games in the league, led by Arian Foster, the Patriots are basically a pass-happy team that usually only resorts to running the ball once the game is out of reach and they are merely trying to run out the clock. Foster impressed the Ravens highly ranked defense by gashing them for 132 yards yesterday, which should not happen next week in New England.
At the same time, the Patriots obviously present an entirely different set of challenges for the Ravens, first and foremost stopping the prolific passing attack under the leadership of QB Tom Brady and a plethora of receivers, most notably their pair of tight ends that have presented match-up nightmares for defenses all season, in full view this weekend by evidence of their contributions to the Patriots 45-10 destruction of the Denver Broncos.
Therefore, before anyone starts the debate with the sentence, "If the Ravens play like this next week,..." remember that the slate must be wiped clean as the offensive and defensive game-plans will be completely re-written for their upcoming game and Ravens fans should be thrilled for the opportunity to see how this team can compete with the best in the league and earn the right to play for the Lombardi Trophy.