Looking At The Enemy: Week 3 and 4

Thomas B. Shea

In an eight part series, I will take a look at the opponents that the Ravens will face in the 2013 season.

HOUSTON TEXANS - Week 3 - Sunday September 22nd - M&T Bank Stadium

The Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens seem to play just about every year. In Week 3, the Ravens will invite their southern foes into M&T Bank for a rematch of last year's drubbing in Houston. The Texans seem poised for yet another playoff run, but have a bit of competition in their division this year with the Colts coming on. The Texans always seem to play the Ravens tough and I expect this year to be no different.

Biggest Addition: Ed Reed will be wearing the blue and red this coming year. He will have a positive impact on their defense if he can stay healthy and most importantly - tackle. Reed is certainly up there in age, but can still help a contender like the Texans.

Biggest Loss: Connor Barwin was a huge asset for the Texans. He was able to rush opposite J.J. Watt, which freed him up a little bit. For the second straight year, the Texans have lost a key pass rusher.

Rookie To Watch For: DeAndre Hopkins could be a stud receiver in the NFL. Many scouts wondered how he would be without his partner in crime, Sammy Watkins, but he has Andre Johnson now. Getting single coverage most of the time will certainly help Hopkins with the transition to the NFL.

BUFFALO BILLS - Week 4 - Sunday September 29th - Ralph Wilson Stadium

In Week 4, the Ravens will butt heads with a non-playoff team. The Bills are very much a team in transition. They have a new coach in Doug Marrone and seem to be starting over. The Bills were the darlings of the NFL two years ago when they started the season off strong, but since then it has been all downhill. Their season last year was probably best described by a 45-3 loss to the 49ers in October.

The Bills have made some serious off season changes. A coaching change was long overdue and they did not want to continue with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. The Bills are probably not a playoff team this year either, but are looking to make some serious improvements.

Biggest Addition: The Bills did not have a marque addition in the offseason. They added role players like Manny Lawson and Alan Branch. They are trying to solidify their front seven on defense.

Biggest Loss: I think it will be George Wilson. Wilson is someone who has proven he can play safety in the NFL. Wilson started every game he's played in the last two years and in the 2012 season recorded 73 tackles.

Rookie To Watch Out For: In one of the more surprising picks of the draft, the Buffalo Bills picked E.J. Manuel. This might have been the most talked about and controversial pick of the first round. Some teams had Manuel rated at a 6th or 7th round grade. Doug Marrone also decided not to pick his college quarterback from Syracuse and took Manuel instead. This might be the Ravens first chance to see the new class of rookie quarterbacks.

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