The Baltimore Ravens are now in the postseason picture as the second Wild Card team after their victory over the Houston Texans in Week 12
The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Houston Texans, 23-16, in Monday night primetime. The Ravens now advance to 6-5 and currently hold the sixth AFC playoff seed. It may not have been a dominant win, but that doesn’t matter in the standings.
Here are three observations from the Ravens’ win over Houston on Monday Night Football in Week 12.
3. DeAndre Hopkins and Jadeveon Clowney are hard to stop
The Texans have two special players in DeAndre Hopkins and Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney single-handedly wrecked Baltimore’s offensive line in the first half. Whether it was hitting the quarterback or blowing up a run, they could not keep him out of the backfield. He is showing the Texans he was worth the first overall pick they used on him. The Ravens adjusted in the second half of the game to take Clowney away, but it took a lot of extra manpower to do so. A healthy and full strength J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and Clowney is a terrifying thought.
Hopkins was the real star of the night for Houston, however. Going against Jimmy Smith for most of the game, one of the top cornerbacks in the league, Hopkins was able to find success. Smith has pretty much shut down every receiver he has faced this year, except for Hopkins. His physical play style leads to drawing pass interference calls on corners frequently. His catch radius is pretty insane too. Hopkins finished the night with seven receptions for 125 yards.
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2. Don’t forget about old man Sizzle
Terrell Suggs is defying age right in front of our eyes. At 35 years old, he is having one of the best seasons of his career. He now has 9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. He is cementing his place in Canton with every game. T-Sizzle put on a show in prime-time football against the Texans. He racked up two sacks, one of which forced a fumble, had several run stops, and blew up a screen by jumping in the throwing lane and deflecting the pass.
Suggs and the Ravens defense made life hard on backup quarterback Tom Savage. Savage threw two interceptions and fumbled once. It’s hard not to think how fun this game could have been if Deshaun Watson was playing. Texans fans have a lot to be happy about going forward with their team, that’s for sure.
1. Ravens offense must improve if they want to make it far
This was a game that had no business being this close. The Ravens should have destroyed the injury-plagued Texans, who are without their rising star, Deshaun Watson, and two of their best defensive players in J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Houston has been prone to giving up big passing plays this year, yet Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense couldn’t hit on any. The longest pass of the night was from punter Sam Koch to Chris Moore on a fake punt.
Flacco said it best in the post-game press conference when he talked about how they must improve as an offense if they want to win the Super Bowl. The conservative play calling, lack of big passing plays, and inconsistent O-line play has made the Ravens offense one of the worst in the league. They have relied on their running game and the best kicker in the league Justin Tucker so far to win games.
This isn’t a bad formula, but the passing attack must find some rhythm in time for the playoffs. Joe Flacco is capable of catching fire and winning it all in the post-season, so let’s hope he can do just that. With how the defense and special teams are playing, the Ravens with just a competent offense would make for a scary team.