Week 3 - Connected by Verizon, Official Wireless Service Provider of the Baltimore Ravens.
Sunday, 9/22/13, 1:00 PM - M&T Bank Stadium (71,008)
TV Crew: Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Dan Dierdorf (analyst)
Radio: 98 Rock | Sports USA | Sirius: 92 | XM: 225
Local Radio Crew: Gerry Sandusky (play-by-play), Stan White (analyst), Qadry Ismail (analyst)
National Radio Crew: Larry Kahn (play-by-play), Ross Tucker (analyst), Troy West (sideline)
Ravens Jersey Color: Purple
Referee Crew: John Parry
TV Coverage: View Map
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LB Ray Lewis, who retired at the end of the 2012 season after playing 17 years with the Ravens, will be placed into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime of this Sunday's game.
The Ravens' Ring of Honor, presented by Smyth Jewelers, salutes special inductees at M&T Bank Stadium with banners. Each member is recognized for his extraordinary contributions to the NFL, Ravens and Baltimore community.
The Ravens took their worst loss of the John Harbaugh era the last time they faced the Texans, falling by 30 points in Houston.
This year’s rematch will be an emotional one.
The Ravens will be looking to avenge that loss. At the same time, legendary linebacker Ray Lewis will go into the Ravens Ring of Honor and former Baltimore safety Ed Reed will be on the other sideline.
Besides the excitement around the game, it should be a highly competitive battle on the field between two of the AFC’s top teams.
Matchups To Watch
RT Michael Oher vs. DE J.J. Watt
Watt had a field day against the Ravens last year. He got his hands on two Joe Flacco passes, and one led to an interception return for a touchdown. Watt’s the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, but Oher can’t show him too much respect. Oher must get physical with Watt at the line to prevent him from leaping into passing lanes.
CB Jimmy Smith vs. WR DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins is nicknamed “Nuke.” Smith needs to make sure the Texans aren’t dropping any bombs Sunday. Hopkins emerged last week with seven catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. Smith also played very well last Sunday, limiting the Browns. The two talented youngsters should have a physical battle outside, as Smith likes to press bigger wideouts.
OLB Terrell Suggs vs. LT Derek Newton
The Texans have a big problem if starting left tackle Duane Brown (toe) isn’t able to play, which looks likely. That would mean Houston would likely shift third-year right tackle Derek Newton to the left. The Ravens already have eight sacks this season, and Suggs has a pair. Baltimore could put some serious pressure on quarterback Matt Schaub.
Keys To The Game
Limit the run game
The Texans offense thrives off play-action. But if Baltimore can stonewall Houston’s talented running back duo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate and make the Texans more one-dimensional, the Ravens will gain a big advantage. The Ravens have allowed just 65 rushing yards per game over the first two weeks (seventh best in the league). They need to continue that dominance up front.
Get Bernard Pierce going
With Ray Rice coming off a hip flexor strain, backup Bernard Pierce will have to carry most, if not all, of the load. Pierce has shown his potential as an explosive, one-cut runner and the Texans don’t feel there is much drop-off from Rice. But Pierce has never carried a full NFL game before. It will be a test of his strength and endurance. The Ravens had troubles with their ground game in the first two weeks.
Protect Joe Flacco
Houston’s front-seven can be flat-out scary. It’s not just Watt coming off one edge of the defensive line, but Antonio Smith on the other, as well as blitz-happy linebackers Whitney Mercilus and Brian Cushing. The Texans largely won last year’s game in the trenches. This year, the Ravens offensive line has to have one of its best games if Baltimore is going to win.
Overview: Coming off two-straight AFC South titles, the Houston Texans are 2-0 in 2013 and stand alone atop the division. After thrilling victories in consecutive weeks to start the season, the Texans became the first team since the 1970 NFL merger to win their first two contests on the game's final play. Last week, despite an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit, Houston defeated Tennessee, 30-24, in dramatic fashion, capped off by a rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins 3-yard TD c atch in OT. The Texans are one of eight teams that remain unbeaten.
Gary Kubiak: In his eighth season leading the Texans, Kubiak owns a 60-53 regular season record since becoming the franchise's second head coach in 2006. After failing to earn the postseason in his first five years at the helm, he has guided the Texans to consecutive AFC South titles, including a franchise-best 12-4 mark in 2012. Houston has appeared in the Divisional Playoff in each of the past two seasons. A 20-year NFL coaching veteran, Kubiak has also served as the Broncos' "O" coordinator (1995-2005) and the 49ers' QBs coach (1994).
Offense: Houston ranks fourth in total offense (450.5 ypg) and points (30.5 ppg.). Behind the explosive tandem of RB Ben Tate (18 carries, 148 yards) and RB Arian Foster (37-136), the Texans own the league's third-ranked rushing attack (146.0 ypg). QB Matt Schaub is 60-of-93 passing for 644 yards, 6 TDs (third in AFC) and 3 INTs. WR Andre Johnson (who left last week's contest and did not return - head) is tied with a league-high 20 receptions for 222 yards, while the first-round rookie receiver Hopkins leads all first-year players with 183 yards on 12 catches with 1 score. TE Owen Daniels is tied for first among NFL TEs with 3 TDs, adding 91 yards on 7 receptions.
Defense: The Texans' unit ranks fourth overall (255.5 ypg), posting the NFL's third-best pass defense (156.0 ypg), but has allowed 6 passing TDs. Houston has forced opponent three-and-out drives a league-best 48 percent of the time. LB Brian Cushing missed most of last season with a torn ACL, but has been dominant in leading the defense with 16 tackles (15 solo), 1 INT (returned for a TD) and tying for a team-high 2 sacks. Last year's AP Defensive Player of the Year, DE J.J. Watt, has produced 2 sacks, adding 8 tackles (7 solo).
• Regular Season Series: Ravens lead, 5-1
2013 SEASON RANKINGS
• Texans S Ed Reed (2002-12) was originally selected by the Ravens with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft. Reed is the Ravens' all-time leader with 61 career interceptions, which rank 10th most in NFL history. His 1,541 interception return yards are the most in NFL history.
• Ravens WR/RS Jacoby Jones joined the Ravens in 2012 after spending the first five years of his career in Houston, where he was selected in the third round of the 2007 Draft. With the Texans, Jones totaled 127 receptions for 1,741 yards and 11 TDs, also adding 243 returns (punt and kick) for 3,310 yards and 4 TDs (3 PR and 1 KOR).
• Ravens FB Vonta Leach spent four seasons (2007-10) as a member of the Texans, totaling 65 receptions for 457 yards and 3 TDs. In addition, Leach led the way for Texans RB Arian Foster, who topped the NFL in rushing yards (1,616) during the 2010 season.
• Ravens T Bryant McKinnie (2000-01) and Texans WR Andre Johnson (2000-02) and S Ed Reed (1997-2001) played together at Miami (FL). The three were vital members of Miami's 2001 National Championship team.
• Ravens S Michael Huff (2002-05), CB Chykie Brown (2006-10), and K Justin Tucker (2008-11) attended the University of Texas.
• Ravens CB Chykie Brown (Houston), senior advisor to player development O.J. Brigance (Houston), OLB Adrian Hamilton (Dallas, TX) - currently on IR, S Michael Huff (Irving, TX), DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (Weatherford, TX) - currently on NFI List, G/T Kelechi Osemele (Houston) and K Justin Tucker (Austin) are Texas natives.
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To provide a safer environment for the public and significantly expedite fan entry into M&T Bank Stadium, the Baltimore Ravens have adopted the NFL policy that limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into the stadium.
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