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Ravens vs. Texans: 3 defensive keys to victory

Baltimore Ravens v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Houston Texans were a team set to light the NFL on fire, but the inferno was quickly washed away as rookie superstar Deshaun Watson tore his ACL. Now, the team is fielding Tom Savage at quarterback, and rather than dropping 40+ points, they’re vulnerable. It doesn’t help D’Onta Foreman also suffered a season-ending Achilles tear last week, against the Arizona Cardinals.

  1. DeAndre Hopkins cannot be a factor

Jimmy Smith can shadow receivers, but Dean doesn’t always let him. In this scenario, I believe Jimmy must shadow Hopkins. Brandon Carr is talented, but he’s shown weakness the past few weeks. With Tony Jefferson and Carr both on the same side, this gives Hopkins too much room to play with. Weddle can’t shade to Hopkins side every play, therefore you must use Jimmy to body the big receiver. If that doesn’t occur, bracket coverage on Hopkins every play is necessary. Force them to throw elsewhere. Don’t let their best player beat the Ravens. Force another star to win it for them.

2. Pressure the quarterback

Tom Savage isn’t going to stand tall against pressure. He won’t battle in the pocket—in the backfield— and sling throws. He’ll collapse. He isn’t Brady or Roethlisberger, he’s a backup quarterback and the Ravens need to bully him. Matt Judon just won AFC defensive player of the week. I’d love for him to win it back-to-back.

3. Turnovers

The Ravens have done a great job of creating turnovers this entire season. They are number one in interceptions, and continuing their success against Tom Savage should be no difficulty. This game will be no different than the others; give Flacco a short field, force the turnover.