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Know Your Foe: Baltimore Ravens

It’s been three years since the Texans tangled with the Ravens. In 2014, the Texans fought back from a brutal loss to Indianapolis the week prior to knock off Baltimore in a playoff season for the Ravens. The Ravens haven’t been back to the postseason since but are sitting in the number six spot currently in the AFC playoff hunt. The 2017 Ravens aren’t much different than the 2014 Ravens and many Ravens squads prior to those: stout, physical, nasty and relentless. They knocked off the Packers at Lambeau Field last Sunday 23-0, their third shutout of the year (Bengals, Dolphins and Packers).

Suffice to say, the Texans have their work cut out on Monday Night Football, even more so when you consider the Ravens brilliance in Primetime. Under head coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 11-1 in Primetime. No, that’s not a misprint...11-1 and they’ve won nine in a row under the lights. The Texans are 1-1 in Primetime this year, knocking off Cincinnati on the road on a Thursday night, losing to Kansas City at home on a Sunday night.

November football. Monday Night. Temperatures expected in the 30s. Physical opponent. Opportunity to shock the world. It doesn’t get much better than that in the NFL. So, let’s take a look at the AFC North’s Baltimore Ravens.

2017 TEAM RECORD
5-5 (0-2 v. AFC South)
W, 20-0 @ Cincinnati Bengals
W, 24-10 Cleveland Browns
L, 44-7 @ Jacksonville Jaguars (London)
L, 26-9 Pittsburgh Steelers
W, 30-17 @ Oakland Raiders
L, 27-24 Chicago Bears
L, 24-16 @ Minnesota Vikings
W, 40-0 Miami Dolphins
L, 23-20 @ Tennessee Titans
W, 23-0 @ Green Bay Packers

OFFENSE
2017 Team Profile (10 games)
Rush offense - 114.6 ypg (13th in the league) Passing offense - 165.2 ypg (32nd) Total offense - 279.8 ypg (31st) Scoring - 21.3 ppg (18th) 3rd Down Percentage conversion - 32.9% (31st) Giveaways - 15 - 11 INT and 4 Fumbles (T12th in most giveaways in NFL)

This is the Ravens projected starting lineup for Monday Night Football against the Texans WR - Mike Wallace WR - Jeremy Maclin LT - Ronnie Stanley LG - Luke Bowanko C - Ryan Jensen RG - Matt Skura RT - Austin Howard TE - Nick Boyle TE - Maxx Williams QB - Joe Flacco RB - Alex Collins

Key Offensive non-starters
RB/WR - Danny Woodhead
WR - Michael Campanaro
TE - Ben Watson

What’s the biggest concern for the TEXANS defense facing the BALTIMORE offense?
It’s more of a question, honestly. Can the Ravens passing game get on track against the Texans secondary? Joe Flacco can get hot at any time and if he gets rolling, he’s proven that he can put up some significant numbers. The Texans limited the deep shots against the Cardinals, yet still gave up five passing plays of 20+ yards.

Last week in Green Bay, Mike Wallace scored a touchdown with a marvelous catch, but it’s his speed down the field that’s most concerning. Jeremy Maclin hasn’t put up tremendous numbers for the Ravens but can get healthy, as a matter of speaking, at any moment.

What’s the biggest concern for the RAVENS offense facing the HOUSTON defense?
This Ravens offensive line has been banged up nearly all season long. It lost All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda for the season back in September. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley missed last week with a concussion, though he should be ready to go on Monday Night. Right tackle Austin Howard has been banged up this week. All in all, it’s a group dealing with a lot of stuff right now and that might be all that it takes for Jadeveon Clowney and the defensive front to have success harassing Flacco in the passing game.

The Ravens run game is 13th in the league, but the Texans run defense has been stout lately. As such, the Ravens need to protect Flacco to have success on offense in the passing game, which at this moment is last in the league in yardage production.

Offensive X-Factor
Running back/slot receiver Danny Woodhead - He worries me, greatly, in this matchup. The Texans have done a much better job of slowing slot/running back receiving options, but Woodhead is one of the best offensive weapons on that sideline. And, that’s where I’d like to see him, honestly - he’s too big a thorn in the side when he’s on the field.

DEFENSE
2017 Team Profile (10 games)
Rush defense - 120.8 ypg (26th in the league) Passing defense - 185.2 ypg (2nd) Total defense - 306.0 ypg (6th) Scoring Allowed - 17.1 ppg (3rd) 3rd Down Percentage conversion allowed - 33.3% (5th best) Takeaways - 23 - 16 INT, 7 Recoveries (T1st for most takeaways in NFL)

This is the Ravens projected starting lineup for Monday Night Football against the Texans DT - Brandon Williams DT - Willie Hurst Rush - Terrell Suggs MLB - C.J. Mosley WLB - Patrick Onwuasor SLB - Za’Darius Smith CB - Maurice Canady CB - Brandon Carr SS - Tony Jefferson FS - Eric Weddle CB - Jimmy Smith

Key Defensive non-starters
DE - Matt Judon (AFC Defensive Player of the Week v. Green Bay last week) CB - Marlon Humphrey OLB - Tyus Bowser DB - Anthony Levine Sr.

What’s the biggest concern for the RAVENS defense facing the HOUSTON offense?
The Ravens seemingly have advantages in most areas in this matchup with one glaring exception - DeAndre Hopkins against the Ravens cornerbacks. Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr are having exceptional seasons and there’s a strong push for Smith to make the Pro Bowl. But, Hopkins is not only having a 2015-like season; he’s even better.

Hopkins had four catches against Patrick Peterson last week, but each one was hugely important. Smith/Carr will have their work cut out for them on Monday night against #10.

What’s the biggest concern for the TEXANS offense facing this BALTIMORE defense?
All that said about Hopkins, this Ravens secondary is second to none in the league. Smith and Carr, plus Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle are holding teams to under 190 yards per game through the air. The Texans passing game had much more success last week against Arizona, but Baltimore is bringing a whole different group to the party. Tom Savage must take what the Ravens give to him, getting the ball out of his hands quickly and intelligently.

Defensive X-Factor
Defensive tackle Brandon Williams - He’s the one guy that I hoped one day D.J. Reader would emulate (Reader is definitely following in those footsteps). Williams is a beast and doesn’t get moved off the ball without some help. Wonder why C.J. Mosley has 83 tackles in 10 games? Well, wonder no more.

It’s been three years since the Texans tangled with the Ravens. In 2014, the Texans fought back from a brutal loss to Indianapolis the week prior to knock off Baltimore in a playoff season for the Ravens. The Ravens haven’t been back to the postseason since but are sitting in the number six spot currently in the AFC playoff hunt. The 2017 Ravens aren’t much different than the 2014 Ravens and many Ravens squads prior to those: stout, physical, nasty and relentless. They knocked off the Packers at Lambeau Field last Sunday 23-0, their third shutout of the year (Bengals, Dolphins and Packers).

Suffice to say, the Texans have their work cut out on Monday Night Football, even more so when you consider the Ravens brilliance in Primetime. Under head coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 11-1 in Primetime. No, that’s not a misprint...11-1 and they’ve won nine in a row under the lights. The Texans are 1-1 in Primetime this year, knocking off Cincinnati on the road on a Thursday night, losing to Kansas City at home on a Sunday night.

November football. Monday Night. Temperatures expected in the 30s. Physical opponent. Opportunity to shock the world. It doesn’t get much better than that in the NFL. So, let’s take a look at the AFC North’s Baltimore Ravens.

2017 TEAM RECORD<br> 5-5 (0-2 v. AFC South)<br> W, 20-0 @ Cincinnati Bengals<br> W, 24-10 Cleveland Browns<br> L, 44-7 @ Jacksonville Jaguars (London)<br> L, 26-9 Pittsburgh Steelers<br> W, 30-17 @ Oakland Raiders<br> L, 27-24 Chicago Bears<br> L, 24-16 @ Minnesota Vikings<br> W, 40-0 Miami Dolphins<br> L, 23-20 @ Tennessee Titans<br> W, 23-0 @ Green Bay Packers

OFFENSE<br> 2017 Team Profile (10 games)<br> Rush offense - 114.6 ypg (13th in the league)
Passing offense - 165.2 ypg (32nd)
Total offense - 279.8 ypg (31st)
Scoring - 21.3 ppg (18th)
3rd Down Percentage conversion - 32.9% (31st)
Giveaways - 15 - 11 INT and 4 Fumbles (T12th in most giveaways in NFL)<br> <br> This is the Ravens projected starting lineup for Monday Night Football against the Texans
WR - Mike Wallace
WR - Jeremy Maclin
LT - Ronnie Stanley
LG - Luke Bowanko
C - Ryan Jensen
RG - Matt Skura
RT - Austin Howard
TE - Nick Boyle
TE - Maxx Williams
QB - Joe Flacco
RB - Alex Collins

Key Offensive non-starters<br> RB/WR - Danny Woodhead<br> WR - Michael Campanaro<br> TE - Ben Watson

What’s the biggest concern for the TEXANS defense facing the BALTIMORE offense?<br> It’s more of a question, honestly. Can the Ravens passing game get on track against the Texans secondary? Joe Flacco can get hot at any time and if he gets rolling, he’s proven that he can put up some significant numbers. The Texans limited the deep shots against the Cardinals, yet still gave up five passing plays of 20+ yards.

Last week in Green Bay, Mike Wallace scored a touchdown with a marvelous catch, but it’s his speed down the field that’s most concerning. Jeremy Maclin hasn’t put up tremendous numbers for the Ravens but can get healthy, as a matter of speaking, at any moment.

What’s the biggest concern for the RAVENS offense facing the HOUSTON defense?<br> This Ravens offensive line has been banged up nearly all season long. It lost All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda for the season back in September. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley missed last week with a concussion, though he should be ready to go on Monday Night. Right tackle Austin Howard has been banged up this week. All in all, it’s a group dealing with a lot of stuff right now and that might be all that it takes for Jadeveon Clowney and the defensive front to have success harassing Flacco in the passing game.

The Ravens run game is 13th in the league, but the Texans run defense has been stout lately. As such, the Ravens need to protect Flacco to have success on offense in the passing game, which at this moment is last in the league in yardage production.

Offensive X-Factor<br> Running back/slot receiver Danny Woodhead - He worries me, greatly, in this matchup. The Texans have done a much better job of slowing slot/running back receiving options, but Woodhead is one of the best offensive weapons on that sideline. And, that’s where I’d like to see him, honestly - he’s too big a thorn in the side when he’s on the field.

DEFENSE<br> 2017 Team Profile (10 games)<br> Rush defense - 120.8 ypg (26th in the league)
Passing defense - 185.2 ypg (2nd)
Total defense - 306.0 ypg (6th)
Scoring Allowed - 17.1 ppg (3rd)
3rd Down Percentage conversion allowed - 33.3% (5th best)
Takeaways - 23 - 16 INT, 7 Recoveries (T1st for most takeaways in NFL)<br> <br> This is the Ravens projected starting lineup for Monday Night Football against the Texans
DT - Brandon Williams
DT - Willie Hurst Rush - Terrell Suggs
MLB - C.J. Mosley
WLB - Patrick Onwuasor
SLB - Za’Darius Smith
CB - Maurice Canady
CB - Brandon Carr
SS - Tony Jefferson
FS - Eric Weddle
CB - Jimmy Smith

Key Defensive non-starters<br> DE - Matt Judon (AFC Defensive Player of the Week v. Green Bay last week)
CB - Marlon Humphrey
OLB - Tyus Bowser
DB - Anthony Levine Sr.

What’s the biggest concern for the RAVENS defense facing the HOUSTON offense?<br> The Ravens seemingly have advantages in most areas in this matchup with one glaring exception - DeAndre Hopkins against the Ravens cornerbacks. Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr are having exceptional seasons and there’s a strong push for Smith to make the Pro Bowl. But, Hopkins is not only having a 2015-like season; he’s even better.

Hopkins had four catches against Patrick Peterson last week, but each one was hugely important. Smith/Carr will have their work cut out for them on Monday night against #10.

What’s the biggest concern for the TEXANS offense facing this BALTIMORE defense?<br> All that said about Hopkins, this Ravens secondary is second to none in the league. Smith and Carr, plus Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle are holding teams to under 190 yards per game through the air. The Texans passing game had much more success last week against Arizona, but Baltimore is bringing a whole different group to the party. Tom Savage must take what the Ravens give to him, getting the ball out of his hands quickly and intelligently.

Defensive X-Factor<br> Defensive tackle Brandon Williams - He’s the one guy that I hoped one day D.J. Reader would emulate (Reader is definitely following in those footsteps). Williams is a beast and doesn’t get moved off the ball without some help. Wonder why C.J. Mosley has 83 tackles in 10 games? Well, wonder no more.<br> <br>

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