Everything You Need to Know: Ravens vs. Texans

111619-Everything-You-Need-To-Know-vs-Texans

Basics

Kickoff 1 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium

TV: WJZ Channel 13 (Baltimore) WUSA, Ch. 9 (Washington, D.C.)  CBS crew (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn)

Radio: WBAL (1090AM/101.FM) & 98Rock (97.9) FM, Ravens crew (Gerry Sandusky, Jarret Johnson, Kirk McEwen)

Jersey color: Purple

Stakes

The Ravens will be trying to win their sixth straight game, something they haven’t done since 2000 during their first Super Bowl-winning season. Leading the AFC North, the Ravens are competing with the Patriots (8-1), Texans (6-3), and Chiefs (6-4) for a first-round bye. The winner of this game will earn an edge in potential tie-breaking scenarios.

History

The Ravens hold a 7-2 lead in the all-time series – 6-2 in the regular season and 1-0 during the playoffs. Their last meeting was in 2017, when the Ravens won 23-16 in Baltimore. Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor had five tackles, safety Anthony Levine had an interception and punter Sam Koch completed a 22-yard pass on a fake punt attempt. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had seven catches for 125 yards for Houston.

Key Storylines

Who will win the Lamar Jackson vs. Deshaun Watson quarterback dual?

Both quarterbacks are MVP candidates having terrific seasons. Jackson and Watson had an epic matchup in college in 2016 when Watson played for Clemson and Jackson played for Louisville, with Watson’s team winning. This is their first meeting in the NFL. Jackson still remembers that game from college and wants a different outcome.

How much will a bye week help Houston?

The Texans were off last weekend, which is always nice in November. They’ve gotten healthier and expect the return of wide receiver Will Fuller IV, who has not played since Week 7. Coming off a bye week doesn’t guarantee Houston anything, but the Ravens will face a well-rested team.

Can the Ravens pass rush get to Watson?

Watson is mobile and a strong runner, but he’s been sacked 25 times and hit a lot this season. The Ravens’ pass rush has been much stronger in recent weeks, and the more they can hit Watson, the better their chances to win.

Key Matchups

Ravens secondary vs. Hopkins and Fuller

Hopkins is one of the NFL’s top receivers and even more dangerous when Fuller joins him. Baltimore’s secondary has been playing at a high level, bolstered by the addition of cornerback Marcus Peters and the return of Jimmy Smith, added to a talented group that includes cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr, and safeties Earl Thomas III and Chuck Clark. Keeping Hopkins and Fuller from making big plays isn’t easy, but it’s a high priority for the Ravens in this game.

Matt Judon vs. Texans offensive line

Getting pressure on Watson is imperative and Judon (four sacks) is the leader of Baltimore’s pass-rushing crew. It’s up to Judon to set the tone, along with outside linebacker Tyus Bowser, who has played well the past few weeks.

Baltimore’s rushing attack vs. Houston’s run defense

The Ravens believe they can run against anyone, but the Texans have the NFL’s third-ranked rushing defense. Jackson (702 yards) and running back Mark Ingram II (619 yards) are both on pace for 1,000-yard seasons. It will be interesting to see if Houston has a formula to contain them.

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