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Baltimore Ravens have a golden opportunity vs. Texans

Baltimore can set the record straight with a win on Monday Night Football.

Baltimore Ravens v Tennessee Titans Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

This may be a surprise to many fans that have watched this team over the course of 10 regular season games, but the Baltimore Ravens have the golden opportunity to make the playoffs. Currently sitting at 5-5 and coming off of a win against the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore is just one win away from reclaiming the sixth seed from the Buffalo Bills (6-5).

Baltimore will take on the Houston Texans (4-6) on Monday Night Football. Prime time. ESPN. It’s a huge stage and Baltimore has to take advantage of it. This Texans team is banged up and is currently starting a backup quarterback in Tom Savage, who has a 52.8% completion percentage.

Baltimore creates 2.3 turnovers per game on defense. They are ranked second in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing just 17.1 points per game and are seventh in yards allowed per game (306.0). They can and probably will feast on Savage.

On the other hand, there are obviously many things to fix with Baltimore’s offense. They are ranked 32nd in the NFL in passing yards (165.2 yards per game). Their rushing offense has dipped a bit, falling to 13th in the NFL (114.6 yards per game). They have to get things going, if they want to get to the playoffs.

Houston is the perfect team to play against for Baltimore’s offense to get back on the right track. The Texans allow 252.8 passing yards per game, ranking 28th in the NFL. Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has to call for shots downfield, exposing the shoddy play of the Texans’ secondary. Mike Wallace’s number should be called on often on Monday night.

Mornhinweg has to do it the right way though. That right way includes using Baltimore’s running game primarily and taking deep shots off of the play action. The Ravens have a great deal of talented running backs on their roster. Alex Collins, Buck Allen, Danny Woodhead and Terrance West are all key to running the ball down the throat of Houston’s sixth ranked rushing defense (92.0 yards per game).

Committing to the run is important, but every once in awhile and it must be reiterated, Baltimore needs to take shots downfield. Baltimore is 32nd in yards per pass attempt (4.9), meaning that they have neglected throwing the ball deep. Joe Flacco has to take advantage of the fact that Houston allows 7.7 yards per pass attempt (30th in the NFL).

There is no J.J. Watt to attack the quarterback. The Texans do have Jadeveon Clowney. Ronnie Stanley will probably play, moving James Hurst back to left guard. With Austin Howard’s status up in the air, Baltimore needs to keep Flacco upright to get the ball into his receivers’ hands.

They say that it takes a village to raise a child, but in this case, it’ll take a village to correct the Ravens offense. Luckily for them, they can begin to correct it against a struggling team. Baltimore can do things that they haven’t been able to do against teams that have been better defensively in the pass game. This is their opportunity and they can’t throw it away.