When we look at this upcoming divisional game, the Houston Texans match up very well against the favored Baltimore Ravens. Trust me being a fan of the Texans people may think I am wearing Battle Red tinted glasses, but honestly the Texans have an opprotunity to make this 2011 run even better.
One thing that keeps popping up in my mind is the fact that the Texans were down 19-14 against the Ravens in Baltimore with 4:14 seconds left in the game. Are the Ravens one of the top teams in the AFC, of course and so are the Texans. They share many similarities which prove successful, a star running back, good offensive line play and top-notch defenses.
The biggest factor in the first meeting was the Ravens making the plays to win the game, and the Texans inability to punch it in or get a stop when needed. That was in week 6, this is week 19 of the NFL season and anything can happen.
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1. The Texans have to be better in the secondary, in the regular season meeting Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith both had some big catches that doomed the Texans. The secondary was confused at time, but they were still learning the defense at that times. Wade Phillips said the Texans have 30% more of their defense in from that game to now and called his defense more technically sound. Expect a different defense from the one before.
2. Throw in the fact that Andre Johnson and James Casey were not in the first match now in the rematch they are healthy and ready to go. The Texans inserted Lawrence Vickers into the game with his first start and struggled with pass protection, plus the passing game as we know is not explosive without Johnson. They are back and the Ravens will have to pick their game plan, stop Arian Foster or Johnson.
3. Arian Foster was below average and had his worse game of the season against the Ravens. Credit the Ravens defense for shutting down and frustrating Foster, that is what good defenses do. Foster has to have a performance like his Wild Card one against the Bengals, where he took control of the game. Foster will open up the Texans offense but he has to get it going.
4. T.J. Yates will have everything thrown at him by the Ravens defense, from coverages to fronts and blitz packages. Gary Kubiak is going to have to protect Yates from hits and confusion, but it seems like Kubiak always has his quarterback ready to go. Yates could cement his place in Texans history with this improbable win.
5. Texans must stop: Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed and Ray Rice. Those are real football players and the Texans will have their work cut out for them on Sunday.