Can the Ravens win their 14th straight regular season game and move to 2-0 on the young campaign when the visit the Texans in Houston on Sunday at 4 PM? Our bold predictions below…
These two clubs met last season during Week 11. The Texans arrived in Baltimore as 4-point underdogs and left as an embarrassed team following a 41-7 defeat. The Ravens outgained the Texans 491 yards to 232 and they possessed the ball for over 36 minutes. The Ravens made the Texans a one-dimensional team, sacking Deshaun Watson six times and backup A.J. McCarron once. Wink Martindale’s unit also contained Watson, limiting him to 12 yards on three carries.
This time around the Ravens travel to Houston where they enter the game as 7-point road favorites. That’s a big number considering the Texans made it to the Divisional Round in 2019 and are considered to be a favorite in the AFC South. Unfortunately for head coach Bill O’Brien and his merry band of longhorns, it’s going to be another long afternoon against Lamar Jackson & Co.
- The Ravens won’t put up 491 yards of offense as they did 10 months ago, but they’ll get close with 450 yards of offense.
- Once again the Ravens run game will outpace the aerial assault, this time 245 to 205. J.K. Dobbins leads the way on the ground with 80 yards, followed by Mark Ingram with 60 yards, Gus The Bus with 55 yards and Lamar with 50. All but Lamar hit pay dirt.
- By air Lamar will go 18 of 23 for 205 and 2 scores, one to Mark Andrews who hauls in 7 for 80 yards and another to Willie Snead who collects 3 for 35 yards.
- Calais Campbell, Matt Judon and Tyus Bowser each record a sack. DeShon Elliott and Patrick Queen also tally sacks.
- The Ravens will carry a 17-10 lead at half and cruise to victory. Bring on the Chiefs!
BTW, Baltimore finally gets a home MNF game against the World Champs and no one can go. F-COVID-19!
Ravens 38, Texans 20
— The Ravens embarrassed the Texans 41-7 last season. The only impact that has on this game is purely psychological. Houston doesn’t want to get drubbed on its own field and Deshaun Watson will play much better this time.
— The Browns stocked the box to prevent the Ravens from running over them. The strategy did not work because Lamar Jackson simply beat them through the air with three touchdown passes. The Texans will look to stop the run first, but they’ll keep a safety deep to support coverage on the backend. Nonetheless, Jackson is going to make plays with arm, legs … or both.
— Watson was sacked six times by the Ravens last season. In the opener against the Chiefs, he absorbed four sacks. The Ravens are going to attack Houston’s offensive line. Defensive end Calais Campbell didn’t manage a sack last week. He should be able to notch his first one in a Ravens uniform against the Texans.
— Houston should get J.J. Watt back in the lineup. He’s dealing with a hip injury but has been able to practice. Watt didn’t play in Baltimore last season because of an injury. He’ll make an impact and help keep the Ravens from running up the score..
— Prediction: The Ravens have too much firepower for Houston, which won’t be able to get into a shootout. Don Martindale will have a new plan to defend Watson.
Ravens 27 Texans 16
This is a tougher game than meets the eye. The Texans are coming off a Week 1 dismissal by the defending champs. Add to that, they were embarrassed in Baltimore last year, and you have the recipe for a highly-motivated team. Houston also presents some interesting matchup problems with their ability to spread the Ravens out on defense. David Johnson is one of the better single-back set runners in the league who thrives on the perimeter. The Baltimore edge defense (which was exposed by Cleveland in the first half of last week’s game), will be tested again.
That being said, ultimately, the Ravens have too much on offense for a Houston defense that can be gashed on the ground. Unlike the game plan against KC, if Houston commits to selling out against the run, they can be torched over the top against single coverage.
Ravens 33 Texans 17
I saw the NFL Network’s predictions this week and and surprised how close they had the game. I don’t expect this game to be close at all. Deshaun Watson is a good player but he’s operating with much less than he had last year. DeAndre Hopkins is gone, the offensive line is struggling and the defense struggled to get to the quarterback in Week 1. David Johnson is probably the biggest threat on those outside perimeter runs.
— Lamar Jackson throws for 3 touchdowns and runs for 40 yards.
— J.K. Dobbins runs for 60 yards and one touchdown.
— Patrick Ricard has a touchdown reception.
— Hollywood Brown comes just shy of 100 yards with a touchdown reception.
— Patrick Queen records another sack this week.
— Marlon Humphrey forces a fumble.
— Malik Harrison records his first sack
Ravens 34 Texans 13
The Ravens go into Week 2 coming off of the utter domination that was last week’s win against the Browns. The only thing I’m even slightly concerned about was the running game’s inability to get going. However, I’m willing to chalk that up to a certain future hall of fame guard no longer playing, and new faces on the O-Line with no preseason to work out the kinks. Anyway…
— Someone on the Ravens is rushing for 150 this week. I’m guessing Ingram, but Dobbins is a possibility as well.
— The Texans shoddy O-Line continues to be problematic as Deshaun Watson spends the day eating turf. He will be sacked 4 times and hit 8 times.
— Lamar continues the Revenge tour by throwing for 3 touchdowns while throwing for 260 yards.
— No one is going to be able to cover Hollywood Brown. Brown will go off for 9 catches, 120 yards and two touchdowns
Ravens 38 Texans 13
The Texans are a dangerous team simply because they have Deshaun Watson at QB, but they’ve run into a beast of a 2-week stretch, going to KC and having their home-opener against Baltimore.
— Houston will look better than they did the week prior, bouncing back on offense a bit as Watson keeps the Texans in the game by sustaining drives with his legs. Once again Baltimore will get no pressure on the QB, which will allow Will Fuller to occasionally break free from coverage late in plays. Watson finishes with 2 TDs (1 passing and 1 rushing), along with an INT.
— Lamar Jackson continues to shine, showing his newfound confidence in his mechanics once again. Houston doesn’t have the speed at LB to keep up with receivers in the middle, so Mark Andrews will feast and grab another TD. An interesting wrinkle: Greg Roman will capitalize on Devin Duvernay‘s speed in the slot, and he will catch 4 balls for around 70 yards and a score.
— The rushing attack is improved, as Dobbins and Ingram both top 60 yards and Jackson goes for just about 50. Ingram gets his TD this week, and Lamar gets one too.
— On defense, Baltimore shows they have, in fact, shored up the run defense, holding the Texans just under 75 yards and no rushing TDs.
— Many expected it last week, but this will be the game DeShon Elliott gets his first interception of the year.
Ravens 33 Texans 20
The Ravens understand the best way to keep Watson’s best weapon (David Johnson) in check is to put Houston in a hole early, and keep their foot on the throttle. They’ll do exactly that. Jackson will use the Chiefs game plan, as their offense has the ability to mimic the weapons pretty damn closely: Hollywood Brown is the Ravens’ version of Hill, Mark Andrews to Kelce, Dobbins to CEH, and MVP Lamar Jackson to once upon an MVP Mahomes. Lamar’s ground game is an added bonus for the Ravens, but as we saw in Week 1, I expect this to be limited as well (under 10 carries).
Who will be the X Factor for the Ravens?
Miles Boykin. The Chiefs used Sammy Watkins outside with nice results (7 receptions on 9 targets, 82 yards, 1 touchdown), and I expect the Ravens to be looking Boykin’s way more than we’ve seen in previous games. A nice line of six receptions, 70 yards and a score is what I expect here. To go along with that, I see Hollywood Brown surpassing the 100-yard mark once again with a score of his own, and Dobbins tacking on a 3rd touchdown in the early season, as the offense puts up another 38 spot this week.
Defensively, the Ravens struggled to generate pressure against a very solid Browns OL, but the Texans line is notably weaker. I expect the Ravens to pin their ears back and start generating a pass rush this week. Four sacks of Watson will be led by a pair for Tyus Bowser.
In the secondary, I think we see another lockdown performance. Marcus Peters will have Fuller in check, Jimmy Smith will win with his physicality with Jordan Atkins, and I guess Tavon Young can track Brandin Cooks if he’s actually out there running routes. Hump will do Hump things too, I suppose. David Johnson will get his stats (120 total yards) but the Ravens will force a fumble out of him (Malik Harrison). Throw in a pair of picks (Chuck Clark & Marcus Peters) and the Ravens will cruise in this one.
Ravens 38 Texans 17