Ravens-Texans: Preview Roundtable

Bleacher Report Senior Writer INovember 6, 2008

Isaac Barrow: When you look at the rest of our schedule, we're going to need games like this and games against the Cincinnati's of the NFL. While I think the Ravens aren't as good as people give them credit for, I'd be surprised if the Ravens don't get a win. I think these games are beneficial to our success because if we can gain some confidence against weak teams like these, we can compete and even beat an NFC East team or two.

Joe Flacco has amazed me. He has already equaled the amount of wins Kyle Boller and Steve McNair totaled to next year. Not bad for a rookie coming from a school that lost the D-II championship.

The Ravens only trail the Steelers in the North and could surpass them with a win here.

The Texans are playing better. Despite being 3-5, all those wins came in the last four games. They did lose to Minnesota last week, 28-21. The Ravens haven't won three straight road games since 2001, and they sure picked a good team to accomplish the feat against. Keys to the game: Ray Rice. Ravens 28, Texans 7.

Sean O'Brien: This game is an interesting matchup. The Ravens are coming off a come-from-behind-victory over the Browns, while Houston is trying to recover from the loss of Matt Schaub and a close loss to Minnesota.

Andre Johnson is having an awesome season right now, and Baltimore's secondary is still trying to get healthy. I think that if Ray Lewis and the Baltimore "D" can get into Sage Rosenfel's face, they can create some clutch turnovers.

Offensively, we should see a healthy dose of Ray Rice mixed in with some play-action passing from rookie Joe Flacco. If they can stay balanced and swing the momentum away from a hungry Texans team, I think the Ravens can walk away with the W.

My prediction: Ravens 23, Texans 13

Luke Jones: The Ravens will feel some extra motivation when they travel to Houston to take on the Texans on Sunday. This was to be their bye week, but the game originally scheduled for Sept. 14 was postponed due to Hurricane Ike.

The Texans are reeling after losing linebacker, and leading tackler, Zac Diles for the rest of the season due to a broken leg, and quarterback Matt Schaub (knee) for a few games, helping the Ravens’ chances of winning their third straight road game.

The Ravens’ defense will be tested by the fourth-ranked offense in the NFL. Explosive wide receiver Andre Johnson may prove to be the secondary’s biggest challenge of the entire season. The return of cornerback Samari Rolle, out for the last six games, will help to neutralize the Texans’ dangerous passing attack.

Houston’s 23rd-ranked run defense will struggle to stop the Ravens’ three-headed monster of Willis McGahee, Ray Rice, and Le’Ron McClain at running back. The Ravens will once again attempt to control the game on the ground, keeping the Houston offense on the sideline.

The Ravens need this win badly, before the difficult stretch of playing the NFC East begins next week. A loss here creates a steep path to the playoffs with the difficult part of the schedule looming ahead.

Quarterback Joe Flacco builds on his stellar day in Cleveland by throwing two touchdown passes, while the defense contains quarterback Sage Rosenfels and the Houston offense after allowing Johnson to catch a touchdown pass.

Prediction: Ravens 24 Texans 13

Chad Lamasa:  The Texans' defense is struggling right now. After
Mario Williams, they have no pass rushing threat. If the offensive line
can contain him, then Flacco will have all the time he needs. Our two-headed monster of running back corps should put up some solid yardage.

On the offensive side of the ball, Sage Rosenfels will be running
for his life most of the game and will be lucky if he can keep his feet
on the ground and not become a human helicopter again. They don't have
much of a running game to begin with, and even if they did, the Ravens
don't let up 100 yards to anyone, so that will be a non factor.

So if Flacco can continue his turnover free streak and the
offense clicks like it has the last two weeks, I see the Ravens coming
out on top
somewhere in the neighborhood of 27-6, give or take a pick-six from our defense.


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