Sun, 01 Nov 2020

Everything You Need to Know: Ravens vs. Texans

Baltimore Ravens
20 Sep 2020, 05:25 GMT+10

Clifton Brown

Basics

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m., NRG Stadium

TV: WJZ Channel 13 (Baltimore), WUSA Channel 9 (Washington, DC), CBS crew (Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Melanie Collins)

Radio: WBAL (1090AM/101.5FM) and 98 Rock (97.9FM), Ravens crew (Gerry Sandusky, Femi Ayanbadejo), WDCN La Nueva 87.7 radio broadcast on the Ravens app: (David Andrade, Gustavo Salazar, Ximena Lugo Latorre)

Jersey color: Purple

Stakes

The Ravens have the NFL's longest regular-season winning streak (13 games) and will try to start 2-0 for the second straight year. Houston wants to avoid starting 0-2 after losing its season opener in Kansas City. Houston has won at least 10 games the past two seasons, but there are more questions about this year's team after the offseason trade that sent star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals. Both the Ravens and Texans were division winners last year, and the result of this game could have playoff implications down the road.

History

The Ravens lead the all-time series, 8-2, in the regular season and 1-0 in the playoffs. Baltimore dominated the last meeting, winning 41-7 at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 11 last year. Lamar Jackson threw four touchdown passes while completing 17 of 24 for 222 yards with no interceptions. Gus Edwards had his best game of the season, rushing for 112 yards on just eight carries, including a 63-yard touchdown. Mark Ingram II had two catches for touchdowns while Mark Andrews had one touchdown grab. Baltimore's defense pressured Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson into his worst game of the year (18 for 29, 169 yards, no touchdowns, one interception). The Ravens sacked Watson six times, led by Matthew Judon and Tyus Bowser, who had two sacks each, and Houston didn't score until the fourth quarter.

Storylines to Watch

Can the Texans protect Watson?

Houston's quarterback was sacked four times in Week 1, and the Texans couldn't handle Baltimore's pass rush last season. With the additions of Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison, Baltimore's front seven is stronger and quicker. Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale has plenty of ways to bring pressure, and if the Texans are going to move the ball consistently, they need to give Watson a chance to make things happen.

Can Baltimore have a big day on the ground?

The Ravens rushed for 256 yards against the Texans last season, and this year Baltimore's backfield has added talented rookie J.K. Dobbins. The Texans already have their hands full trying to contain Jackson, who is coming off a season-opening performance that made him AFC Offensive Player of the Week. If the Texans fail to slow down Baltimore's rushing attack, the Ravens will be difficult to beat.

Will the Ravens re-establish a winning road mentality?

The Ravens were 7-1 on the road last season and played some of their best football away from home. However, this is a different season and Baltimore will be playing its first road game during the coronavirus pandemic. For the Ravens to win another division title, and to vie for the No. 1 playoff seed in the conference, they will need to play well on the road. Winning against the Texans, who were 5-2 at NRG Stadium last year, would be an excellent way to start.

Key Matchups

J.J. Watt vs. Ravens offensive line

When healthy, Watt is one of the NFL's most dominant defensive players and keeping him away from Jackson is one of the Ravens' top priorities. Though he often lines up as a defensive end, Watt will also bounce inside if he feels that gives him an advantage. This will be a test for rookie right guard Tyre Phillips, playing just his second NFL game.

Ravens TE Mike Andrews vs. Texans defense

The Texans had trouble with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who had six catches for 50 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. Andrews opened the season with two touchdown catches against the Browns and he's a favorite target for Jackson in the red zone. Andrews could be a matchup nightmare for Houston.

Ravens pass rush vs. Texans offensive line

After sacking Watson six times last season, the Ravens are going to come after him again. Watson did not perform well when blitzed by the Chiefs last week. He is adept at avoiding pass rushers, but the Ravens are capable of swarming all over Watson if Houston's offensive line doesn't meet the challenge.

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