By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens are winners of three straight games and will look to carry that momentum into a pivotal Week 7 match-up against the Houston Texans. The Texans are looking to rebound after an embarrassing outing at home against the Green Bay Packers. With both teams sitting at (5-1), players realize how big this game is.
“You always want to go up against the best,” stated Vonta Leach on Wednesday. “And they are 5-1 coming into this game; and we are 5-1. May the best team win.”
The winner of this game will have a huge lead in the standings. That can be huge in a conference that isn’t playing good football right now. In fact, Baltimore and Houston are the only two teams with a winning record in the AFC. If the Ravens want to win on Sunday, it’ll be a good idea to contain Arian Foster. Going up against one of the best running backs in the NFL will be daunting task for a team that has struggled to stop anyone on the ground. And Arian Foster isn’t just anyone.
“[Foster] has got great vision,” Harbaugh told reporters. “He probably understands how to run that scheme as well as any back in football. He’s just kind of built for it. He’s a sideline-to-sideline, edge-to-edge, everybody’s-at-the-point-of-attack-type of guy. He makes you have to defend every one of those guys.”
With the loss of Ray Lewis, stopping the run gets a lot more difficult. The Ravens have moved Jameel McClain to Lewis’ spot and promoted Dannell Ellerbe to start at the “Will” linebacker position. Drop off in talent won’t be too large as Lewis lost a step this year. The issue lies with communication on the field. And struggling with communication on the road can have dire consequences.
On offense, the Ravens will have their hands full going up against one of the best defenses in football. The major battle will take place at the line of scrimmage for both teams.
“They get after the quarterback real good – create a lot of mismatches,” said Leach. “They play very physical. Not only are they physical, they are very athletic. J.J. Watt causes a lot of problems in there from the end techniques.”
The Ravens did a good job of containing DeMarcus Ware last Sunday when they faced the Cowboys. They will have to take J.J. Watt out of the game as well in order to move the ball effectively. So far, Watt has 9.5 sacks this season. That’s extremely impressive. To put that in perspective, Suggs won the Defensive Player of the Year award last season while registering 14 sacks. To put it bluntly, Watt has the ability to get after the quarterback at will.
The Ravens will need to contain the pass rusher as well as Arian Foster in order to maintain control of this game. If they can, they have a good chance of beating Houston. If they are unable to, they may suffer their first loss against the Texans in franchise history.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.