6 Things to Watch: Ravens Edition
Patrick D. Starr
The Houston Texans will strap it on in a big AFC conference showdown with the Baltimore Ravens. With another tough game on the schedule, the Texans will be put to the test with one of the AFC powers in the Ravens. Coming off a disappointing loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Texans look to bounce back and show they are better than last week.
Here are 6 things to look for on Sunday.
1. Bernard Pollard vs. Owen Daniels: I know this is not a heavyweight fight, but us Texans fans know what Pollard in coverage means, advantage Texans. The Texans must exploit this and keep Pollard out of the box to keep him from making plays in the run game. There is a reason the Texans let him go, now it is time to show the rest of the NFL why they did.
2. Matt Schaub has a chance to win back the fans that jumped ship on him from last week. With a new weapon at his disposal, I would expect Schaub to step up his game and do everything in his power to win this game for the Texans. Expect Schaub to test the Ravens corners to soften the secondary to open up the run game.
3. The biggest worry for the Texans has to be Terrell Suggs and what he can do off the edge with his pass rush. I know the Ravens have the big three in Ray Lewis, Haloti Hgata and Ed Reed, but they are not considered their big pass rusher every down. Like the Texans did to Pittsburgh's James Harrison, they have to slow his pass rush with the zone away from him and bootlegs. One would think that the Texans will go through Suggs than around him, and they have proved they can control the big time pass rushers.
4. Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed are going to have to pick up Mario Williams slack. The only advantage the Texans have is that they can bring either one, instead on majority of the time bringing Williams. It is not good that Williams is out for the season, but it keeps offenses on their toes because either Barwin or Reed could rush and Wade Phillips could use that to his advantage. It is time for the outside linebackers to show they are more than Williams and is starts against the Ravens.
5. The best offensive player for the Texans is Arian Foster and it is time to get the ball in his hands. Foster time after time shows he can make things happen with the football. Foster is the key to the Texans offense with Andre Johnson out of the game, and we would hope he gets more touches than last week. Foster needs to take the game on his shoulders and lead the Texans to victory.
6. This game rests on the offensive line, and to be better what they were the last week. The Texans want to run the ball and keep from making a living passing the ball. The offensive line needs to open up some holes for Foster, since the Ravens are the 3rd best defense in the league and are 2nd against the run. The Texans need to establish the run and shorten this game and put the pressure on the Ravens offense.