By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens took care of business against their division rival Cleveland Browns. Now Baltimore must turn their attention to a familiar foe as the Houston Texans come to town. Here’s the scouting report.
Houston Texans: (2-0-0) 1st in the AFC South
Much like the Ravens offense revolves around Ray Rice, so too does the Texans offense revolve around Arian Foster. Houston has plenty of other weapons to worry about, but Foster remains priority number one for the Ravens defense. Stopping him will be no easy task as Houston boasts one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. But as Baltimore showed on Sunday, they have a defensive line that has the ability to impose their will on anyone.
The game plan for the Texans will be simple. Establish the run with Foster and kill the Ravens downfield with play-action passes with Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. As the Texans proved against the Titans, they have a receiving corps that can make plays whenever necessary. Hopkins hauled in the game-winning touchdown grab in overtime to give Houston one of the few undefeated records in the NFL. The Ravens will need to do their best to keep all of their weapons in check.
Ed Reed hasn’t played a single down for the Texans since departing for Houston following the Ravens Super Bowl victory. But you’d be a fool to think Reed won’t be out there on Sunday. He’ll have a chance to play against his former teammates in a showdown you have to believe will be full of emotion. If Reed does play, Joe Flacco will have to keep an eye on him throughout the entire game. He’ll be accustomed to his movements having had played against him in practice for five years, but game-day and practice are two entirely different entities.
Though Reed will be an important asset for Houston, he isn’t the most dangerous. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt will be wreaking havoc at the line of scrimmage. The Ravens will need to do a better job keeping him in check than they have against other defenders this season. Flacco has been under an enormous amount of pressure the last two weeks due to poor offensive line play. That’ll have to change against this team or the Ravens could be in for a long day.
Though Ray Rice’s status is in question after suffering a strained hip flexor last Sunday, the Texans will prepare as if he will play. And like most defenses, they’re main focus when playing the Baltimore Ravens will be stopping their running game. The Ravens haven’t got much done on the ground so far this year. If they want to keep this defense off balance, that’ll have to change.
Gary Kubiak has coached the Houston Texans since 2006 and has led them to the playoffs the past two seasons. The Texans currently hold a 1-6 record all time against the Baltimore Ravens. Their first victory ever against the franchise took place last season when they defeated Baltimore 43-13.
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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. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.