Keys To The Game: Texans vs. Ravens

Thomas B. Shea

The Texans come to Baltimore today for a match-up of two playoff teams from the past two years.

The first key for this game has to be the pass rush of the Texans. In the white washing last October, J.J. Watt and others lived in the backfield and made it impossible for Joe Flacco to do anything productive. He sacked Flacco, batted passes and was an all-around pest the entire day. Flacco is one of the better quarterbacks in the league when he has time to throw, but his effectiveness drops off significantly when he is under pressure. If the Ravens can keep him upright, they have a good chance to the win the game.

The Ravens also need to develop a running game. With Ray Rice sidelined with a hip injury, Bernard Pierce will have to carry the load. Pierce is normally just the change of pace back, but in this case he will be featured. If he can have a decent day on the ground, this should open up things for the offense. He needs to run downhill from the first whistle and get the Ravens in manageable down and distance situations.

All signs point to this being a very close game. On an emotional day for the Ravens and the city of Baltimore, the crowd should give the Ravens an edge. I think the offensive line keeps the Texans out of the backfield and enables Flacco to hit some passes down the field. I expect a seesaw battle with the Ravens scoring late to take this Week 3 contest. Score: 27-24 Ravens

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