After losing to the Ravens in Week 6, the Texans' defense clamped down. In Week 6, they were allowing 314 yards per game. By the end of the season, that number was down to 285.
More importantly, the Texans' run defense went from 12th in Week 6 to fourth by the end of the season.
The Ravens will want to run the ball early and often, and the Texans will be ready for it. They will want to force Joe Flacco to win this game with his arm, so their attention will be shifted squarely on Ray Rice.
With the level of talent that the Texans' defense has in the front seven, they should be more than up to the task of handling the Ravens' running game.
With several unproductive performances in a row, Flacco might not seem the best candidate to take over a game, but that is what he will have to do against the Texans.
Flacco should be up to the task. With a healthy Anquan Boldin and a blossoming connection with Dennis Pitta, Flacco should be able to effectively move the ball against the Texans' stout defense.
With an unproductive running game, Joe Flacco will be forced to carry this offense, and he should carry it right into the AFC Championship game.
Prediction: Ravens 23, Texans 16