NFL PREVIEWS |

Preview: Ravens at Texans

The Baltimore Ravens squandered a chance to take control of their division a week ago. A second straight defeat could jeopardize their stranglehold on a wild card spot.

The Ravens play their second consecutive game in prime time when they travel to Houston to take on the Texans in a Monday Night Football matchup.

Despite last Sunday night's 13-10 loss to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in a showdown for first place in the AFC North, Baltimore (8-4) remains in firm control of its postseason destiny.

That is, unless the Ravens stumble against the Texans (5-7), who are easily the most dangerous team in the NFL without a winning record.

Playing at home, Baltimore was minutes away from pulling off a season sweep of the Steelers until a late sack that forced quarterback Joe Flacco to fumble led to Pittsburgh's winning touchdown with 2:51 to play.

With a game against defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans on the horizon, the Ravens could add plenty of drama to the AFC playoff race if they fail to dispose of Houston, which needs to win out and get a lot of help to continue playing beyond the regular season.

The Texans suffered another near-miss in a season of agonizing defeats against Philadelphia on Dec. 2, erasing a 14-point deficit to take the lead at the end of three quarters.

But their much-maligned defense was unable to control Michael Vick and the Eagles, who responded with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 34-24 victory.

Despite its record, Houston has the requisite balance and firepower on offense to test the vaunted defense of Baltimore, which ranks second in the AFC (to Pittsburgh) in points allowed at 16.8 points per game.

Running back Arian Foster has come out of nowhere to rush for an NFL-leading 1,230 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also has amassed 1,709 yards from scrimmage to top the league in that category.

Foster has six 100-yard games but will be tested by a defense that ranks sixth overall with 97.8 yards per game and has surrendering only five touchdowns on the ground.

Wide receiver Andre Johnson is among the league’s elite receivers. Despite being troubled by an ankle injury for much of the season, he is fourth in the league with 1,018 yards on the strength of 71 catches and five scoring passes.

Houston quarterback Matt Schaub has thrown only one interception in the past four games, but the Texans have lost three of those games. He should be helped by the expected return of tight end Owen Daniels, who has been sidelined for five games with a hamstring injury.

Flacco will be looking to rebound from a rough second half against the Steelers. After a strong opening half, he completed just 8 of 19 passes in the final 30 minutes and bounced a changeup in the dirt to snuff out Baltimore’s final chance.

Facing Houston’s defense, which ranks 29th overall and 31st in yardage allowed, should help Flacco get back on track. The Texans have yielded at least 29 points to seven of their last eight opponents.

Baltimore also is good at playing the role of bully since Flacco was drafted in the first round in 2008. Since that time, the Ravens are 15-1 against teams with records below .500.

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Stadium

NRG Stadium
Houston, Texas, USA.
Capacity: 71,500

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Last Injuries

Houston Texans

  • Dylan Cole

    Knee
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Cole has been placed on the active PUP list after having surgery on his right ACL. There is no timetable for recovery.

  • Gareon Conley

    Ankle
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Conley has been designated for the active PUP list after ankle surgery. It is up in the air when he will be activated.

  • Xavier Su'a-Filo

    Knee
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Su'a-Filo will spend an undetermined length of time on the active PUP list while healing from a knee injury that ended his 2019 season.

  • Eddie Vanderdoes

    Personal
    I-R | I-R

    Vanderdoes has announced that he will sit out the duration of the 2020 season due to a personal reason. The team has put him on the Injured Reserve/Opt-Out list as a result.

  • Ira Lewis

    Back
    I-R | I-R

    Lewis has reverted to the Injured Reserve/Non-Football Injury list after clearing waivers with back injury.

Baltimore Ravens

  • Matt Skura

    Knee
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Skura has been added to the active PUP list while he rehabs a previously torn ACL and dislocated kneecap. He will miss an extended period.

  • Jacob Breeland

    Knee
    I-R | I-R

    Breeland has landed on the Non-Football injury list while healing from a torn ACL and meniscus in his knee. He is likely to miss the duration of the 2020 season.

  • Andre Smith

    Personal
    I-R | I-R

    Smith has been designated for the Injured Reserve/Opt-Out list after informing the team that he will sit out the entire 2020 season due to a personal decision.

  • Nigel Warrior

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Warrior is on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list due to the virus. There is no timetable for recovery.