The powerhouse Baltimore Ravens Take on a beat up, but still dangerous Houston Texans team in a battle for a seat in the AFC Championship game.
If the Texans can pull off a win this weekend, it will be the first time they will defeat the Baltimore Ravens in franchise history (founded in 2002). With the injury of star quarterback Matt Schaub, and backup Matt Leinart, the Texans were still able to finish off this season 10-6.
In the teams’ last meeting back on October 16, the Ravens were able to stop the explosive play of the Texans offense to win the game 29-14.
In the Texans first playoff appearance in franchise history, they rolled over a struggling Cincinnati team 31-10 with starting quarterback T.J. Yates completing 11 of 20 passes for 159 yards and a 40-yard touchdown to All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson. Yates, a rookie starting in a playoff environment, will have to step his game up to compete against a ruthless Ravens defense that led the AFC this season with 48 sacks.
Yates can lean on All Pro running back Arian Foster, who is fifth in the league rushing for 1,224 yards. His performance last week must make the Ravens defense mindful of stopping the run, as Foster ran all over Cincinnati’s defense with 153 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns.
“You know I’d say Arian is the most complete back I’ve ever been around,” Texans’ tackle Eric Winston says. “A lot of guys can run the ball well, a lot of guys can catch the ball well, a lot of guys can make people miss, a lot of guys can run for power, but there’s not many of them that can do it all and Arian is definitely that guy that can do it all.”
The Ravens success this year came mostly at home, only allowing 15 points per game and outscoring their opponents by 11 points per game. Baltimore is ranked No.2 in the NFL in rushing defense, led by the timeless Ray Lewis, allowing only 92.6 yards per game.
The Texans have been able to stop the run this season except against the Ravens. In their last meeting, Baltimore running back Ray Rice tore up the Texans defense with 161 yards on the ground. If the Texans are going to have any chance this weekend, their top priority is to limit the Ravens’ ability to run.
With amazing players on the Texans offense, and dominating players on the Ravens defense, this game should come down to who can make bigger plays down the field. For each team to keep their Super Bowl hopes in the picture, they must eliminate turnovers, keep drives alive, and look to keep their time of possession high. This looks to be the only defensive struggle of the weekend, and is the game to watch for fans of old school, hard nosed defense.
The game kicks off Sunday at 1PM, at M&T Bank Stadium.