When the Houston Texans take the field Sunday, they’ll be battling for the top spot in the AFC with the Baltimore Ravens. Both teams are heading into the game with a 5-1 record and serious Super Bowl aspirations. In a rematch of last season’s divisional round contest, the Texans look for revenge against the team that ended their 2011 season. However, when the Texans line up for the opening kick, the team across the line will look somewhat unfamiliar because of the numerous defensive injuries the Ravens have suffered since their tussle last January.
This week, we have an insider report courtesy of Ravens101.com and Editor/Writer Josh Michael. Under the Sports Media 101 umbrella, we were able to get an inside look at the current state of the Ravens while providing insight about the Texans as well. Here is what Josh had to say.
HT101: Can the Ravens still be a dominant defense after the losses of Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb, and which player's injury impacts the Ravens more?
BR101: Here's the thing, the Ravens defense, although dominant in the past, has been anything but thus far this season and the losses of Lewis and Webb will make it that much tougher for the defense to keep Baltimore in the game for the offense to win it. Losing Lewis hurts for his leadership, but the defense is impacted more with the loss of Webb, I know that may come as a shock, but Webb has been outstanding for this defense and has been a bright spot over the past season and a half. With Webb out, CB Jimmy Smith will have to step up and fill the void left by Webb's absence.
BR101: Very good question, and I actually get asked this a lot from friends and fans. I am a firm believer that RB Ray Rice is much more important to the offense's success. QB Joe Flacco is without question important, but without Rice, I do not see this offense doing much. Rice is one of the most dynamic running backs in the league and has really been an escape blanket for Flacco in the passing game as he has 24 receptions (just four shy of the team lead) for 233 receiving yards. Let's not forget he still knows how to run the ball too, Rice has rushed for 482 yards and five touchdowns, which totals 715 yards from scrimmage this season through six games.
HT101: How should the Texans attack the Ravens if they want to have a chance to win the game?
BR101: Last week I would have said, apply pressure to Joe Flacco and he will probably throw you an interception or two, which is still the case; but with the injuries to Lewis and Webb, Houston needs to test Jimmy Smith early, and Corey Graham who will be the nickel corner now. Make those two guys prove they can cover the Texans' receivers. Also, the Dallas Cowboys ran all over the Ravens defense last week, more specifically on the edges. Get Arian Foster to the outside until Baltimore proves it has made the adjustments to be able to stop the run.
HT101: Final Prediction?
BR101: In this battle for the top record in the AFC, I had this game circled as one of the toughest on the schedule for Baltimore and unfortunately I see Houston bouncing back this week after their first loss of the season to Green Bay last week: Houston 27 Baltimore 17.
Texans101.com would like to thank Josh Michael for providing us with insight on the Ravens. You can check out my Texans insider info by visiting Ravens101.com.Tags: Arian Foster, Baltimore Ravens, Football, Houston, Houston Texans, Joe Flacco, Lardarius Webb, NFL, Ravens101, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice