The Houston defense was something powerful, in the beginning of the season. J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and Brian Cushing were a front to be feared, but only one remains healthy on the defense, Clowney.
Now the Ravens are cruising into Monday Night Football with better hopes and expectations. Create separation between the other ‘In the Hunt’ wildcard hopefuls, which include the Texans themselves. Here are three offensive keys on how the Ravens can win against the Texans, and hopefully execute against better teams left on the roster.
- Joe Flacco becomes January Joe a little early
Some of these throws. . . leave a lot to be desired. The decision making has been rough, lately, and the Ravens desperately need to see Joe take over. The line isn’t helping, but with Ronnie Stanley back, I hope Flacco can hit some receivers across the field, rather than short and underneath routes. His toss to Danny Woodhead, his pass to Nick Boyle, among others, stick out. If they aren’t fixed, the Ravens won’t win against better teams.
2. Ronnie Stanley vs. Jadeveon Clowney
This is the biggest matchup of the game, on the offensive side. Whomever is successful here may bring about the winner of the game, as Stanley is one of the only person’s capable of blocking Jadeveon one on one. Even then, they’ll need help, and I suspect Nick Boyle and Ben Watson to be a part of it.
3. Continue to feed Alex Collins
Some folks have criticized Collins, and how he isn’t the Ravens back of the future. I don’t know if we’re watching the same film, as he’s done everything with nothing. Last week, against the Green Bay Packers, Collins produced 49 yards, with 47 of them coming AFTER contact. Any tailback capable of taking this punishment and still producing yards and plays has my vote.
I’m confident the Ravens win this contest, but it needs to be a building-block game, in which the team grows into their playoff caliber capabilities. The offense can’t continue to lay an egg and let the defense salvage the team from embarrassment.