Ravens vs. Texans: 4 Reasons This Will Be Game of the Week
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If you don't own Houston Texan season tickets, make friends with someone who does. If you don't have a flat screen TV, find someone who does. If your heart rate doesn't go up thinking about Sunday's game between the Texans and Baltimore Ravens, get your pulse checked.
This AFC battle between the north and the south headlines Week 7 in the NFL.
Dating back to the 2002 season, the Ravens and Texans have met six times, but don't let the Ravens' 6-0 record mislead you—these are two very evenly matched teams.
Aside from them each boasting a 5-1 overall record, both clubs are undefeated in divisional and conference play.
Let's go beyond the surface and take a look at the four reasons that make this the NFL game of the week.
Houston's Defense Is Worth the Price of Admission
Wade Phillips is the defensive mastermind of the Houston Texans.
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
By now it's been widely publicized that the instant sensation J.J. Watt was delivering pizzas five years ago.
Now he's flattening quarterbacks like pizzas—translation: 9.5 sacks and counting.
Watt's emergence as a feared defensive end shouldn't come as any shock, as he is the proverbial canvas and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is Picasso.
It warrants reminding that throughout Phillips' three-plus decades in the NFL, he has coached Hall of Famers Bruce Smith and Reggie White.
As a good judge of talent when it comes to superstar defensive linemen, Phillips isn't shy about projecting Watt's potential.
Not a first-round bust, but a bust in the Hall of Fame, Phillips says. The only players I've seen that can do what he can do, with his intensity, can be found in Canton.
As a team defense, Houston is allowing an anemic average of 87.7 rushing yards and 213.2 yards through the air—ranking seventh in the NFL in both categories.
Both Teams Looking to Rebound
Ed Reed might be chasing down Arian Foster this Sunday.
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In Week 6, the Green Bay Packers rolled into Reliant Stadium and handed the Texans their first loss of the season—a bad one.
The Texans come into Week 7 on the heels of being embarrassed, and the Ravens come in with an uncharacteristically poor defense.
Baltimore's victory over Dallas came at the price of losing key members of their defense. ESPN AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky speaks about the Ravens losses.
The Ravens will be out to prove that they can execute better on offense, and also focus on doing a better job stopping the run as they try to overcompensate for their defensive deficiencies.
Interestingly, both teams faced some controversy last week and were forced to reassess their focus—making this upcoming game all the more pivotal.
It's shaping up to be the game of the week in the AFC conference, and maybe even the year.
Joe Flacco handing the ball off to his star running back Ray Rice.
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When you think of Baltimore these days, you think offense.
They are no longer the defensive powerhouse that they once were, according to ESPN.
Fortunately, their rushing and passing attack are among the top 15 teams around the league—something Baltimore validated by winning their fourth consecutive game when they defeated the Cowboys.
Ray Rice scored twice in that game, and achieved his 37th game where he gained over 100 total yards. Rice is also on pace to rack up nearly 1,300 yards rushing this season.
Joe Flacco completed 65 percent of his passes for 234 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 31-29 win, and he's done a good job of managing the offense this season.
Anquan Boldin had a huge game last Sunday with five catches for 98 yards; he'll need to show up big again against the Texans.
Torrey Smith did catch a touchdown in the win over the Cowboys, but he wasn't effective over the course of four quarters.
The Texans defense got exploited last Sunday; look for the Ravens to try and kick them while they're down.
Texans Running Game
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Arian Foster had a dismal game against the Packers, running for a season-low 29 yards on 17 attempts.
Maybe he needs to add meat back into his diet?
All kidding aside, the only folks that were happy with Foster after Sunday's loss were fantasy owners since he found the end zone twice.
Look for Foster to reassure fans that last week was just an off game. He'll be licking his chops to know that there will be no Ray Lewis and a gimpy Haloti Ngata on Sunday.
Expect No. 23 to move the chains against Baltimore, who has the 26th ranked defense against the run.