Keep your enemies closer: Houston Texans
You know the old saying, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” In this weeks case the enemy is the Houston Texans. I dive deep into enemy territory and give my take on what the Houston media and fans have to say about their match up with Ravens.
Let’s start with an article from battleredblog.com where they ask the question, “Can the Cushingless Texans stop Baltimore’s Ray Rice?”
“The Texans stand a better shot on Sunday if the defense can key in on and contain Rice while the offense does it’s part to score touchdowns and move the Ravens away from handing the ball to Rice. Houston’s chances of winning increases as Rice’s impact decreases.”
Couldn’t agree more here actually. Although I’m not worried about the Texans defense containing Rice. I’m much more worried about Cam Cameron containing Rice. In the Ravens last five road losses, Ray Rice has averaged 10.4 carries per game. Joe Flacco has averaged 39.6 pass attempts. It won’t be hard to contain Rice if he touches the ball less than 15 times. Even if the Texans aren’t ahead late, the Ravens and Cameron’s scheme have an inability to keep the ball on the ground and put the game away.
Next, over at Ultimate Texans, part of the Houston Chronicle, they are checking in on Baltimore just like we are with them. They mention the fact that all seven Baltimore Sun writers and editors picked the Texans this week. C’mon man. It was George Michael, and later Fred Durst who said, “you gotta have faith.” However…
“If I recall correctly, the Wisconsin ‘Cheesey Times’ and the ‘Cheddar Post’ picked us [Houston] to beat Green Bay.”
So we got that going for us.
According to blog.houstontexans.com, the Texans will bust out their “Battle Red” uniforms for this match up. Or as I like to call it, the Santa Claus uniform.
Houston Diehards is mulling over whether or not veteran defensive back Johnathan Joseph should play or not. He hasn’t practiced all week with a groin injury.
“If this was against an NFC opponent, or the game was more inconsequential, I would probably jump right up and scream that the Texans should sit J-Jo down and let him take advantage of the time off plus the following bye week. But this game against the Ravens could loom absolutely HUGE when it comes down to the end of the season, tiebreakers, home-field advantage, etc.”
It would benefit the Ravens a lot if Joseph were forced to sit this one out, or wasn’t quite 100% come Sunday. Joseph, a former Bengal, has picked off Joe Flacco in three of their last six meetings. He’s a familiar opponent, has apparent reads on Joe’s tendencies. Don’t think he’s not passing that info onto his fellow Texans teammates. Another reason why the Ravens should rely heavily on running Ray Rice.
Houston’s KHOU had this to say on what seems to me to be the one weakness on the Texans team. A team some regard as the most complete team in football.
“Kubiak came out of the Green Bay game mostly worried about the hits Schaub took. The right side of the offensive line, with two new starters, has been a concern since training camp and Kubiak says the whole group needs to improve.”
“We didn’t protect the quarterback good enough across the board. That’s up front. That’s the running backs. Matt took a lot of shots.”
“Left tackle Duane Brown said the Packers attacked with some blitzes that the Texans hadn’t seen yet this season. Getting everyone back on the same page is the priority leading up to Sunday’s game.”
This may be the week we see a decent pass rush from our Ravens. I like the thought of attacking a teams weakness. Making Matt Schaub uncomfortable will help in keeping Andre Johnson in check. Blitzing may help in stopping Arian Foster before he gets into the open field. I can see Houston attacking our weaknesses by running the ball often, and throwing in Jimmy Smiths direction. Let’s attack theirs as well.
On the Houston end, no one seems to be discussing Terrell Suggs and his possible return on Sunday. Either Houston isn’t worried about him, or they just assume it’s a mind game the Ravens are playing and he really won’t play.
General consensus is that the statistics point in the Texans favor. This rushing stats, the defensive stats, the time of possession which Houston ranks 1st in, averaging 34:54 per game. The spread makes the Texans a seven point favorite over the Ravens. Hate to sound cliche, but they don’t play the games on paper. Regardless of the numbers, these are two 5-1 teams. Two good football teams who find a way to win games. In my opinion, this battle will come down to wire.
Two things I think work well in our favor. The Ravens historically thrive in the underdog role. The Ravens rise up against formidable opponents, i.e. Steelers, Patriots, now the Texans.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]