One of the Week 3′s best matchups happens when the Baltimore Ravens travel to Houston to take on the Houston Texans in a game that could predict a playoff encounter down the line.
Baltimore was destroyed in Week 1 by the Denver Broncos but manged to bounce back against the Cleveland Browns in a big way last week.
Things have been even better for Houston as the team has notched two come-from-behind victories in a row over the San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans.
Here is everything fans need to know about the major showdown.
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
When: 1:00 PM ET, September 22, 2013
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket, Game Rewind
Ravens Player to Watch: Bernard Pierce
Starting running back Ray Rice went down with a hip injury last week late against the Browns and may not be available for Baltimore against Houston. That’s a huge issue with the passing offense struggling.
However, second-year back Bernard Pierce has the talent to step in and make major contributions. Pierce is a special player in his own right who could start on a few different NFL teams, but he’ll have a tough challenge running the ball against a quality Texans defense.
Texans Player to Watch: Andre Johnson
Houston has a star player of its own dealing with injuries after Andre Johnson suffered a concussion last week. The clear cut No. 1 receiver, the Texans and quarterback Matt Schaub could have some serious problems moving the ball if Johnson does not take the field.
Even if he does, Johnson may not be 100 percent. If that’s the case, it will be up to the ground game to carry the Houston offense to victory, which brings us to our next point…
Matchup to Watch: Texans Running vs. Ravens Defense
The combo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate is outstanding and will give the Ravens defense fits if it plays at the same level it has the last few weeks. Baltimore is simply not the same without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and has looked vulnerable in all phases.
There is plenty of time to get back on track, but the time would be now against one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks. If Foster and Tate are allowed to dictate the pace of the game, the Ravens stand no chance.
A road game such as this is going to give the Ravens some issues. The defense has shown it struggles against quality offenses and the NFL does not have a more well-rounded attack than the one Houston fields with such a quality balance between run and pass
Defensively the Texans will have little issue getting pressure on Joe Flacco, who is already without Dennis Pitta and may be backed by a weakened Ray Rice. It’s a recipe for disaster in a hostile environment.
Texans 35, Ravens 28