Game Preview: Moving On In Primetime

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Fifteen-year linebacker Ray Lewis welcomed third-year running back Ray Rice into his house for several hours this week.

Among the many things they talked about was dealing with the emotional highs and lows of the NFL.

It's a discussion that leaders such as Lewis, wide receiver Derrick Mason and safety Ed Reed have had with teammates throughout the past week.

With a veteran-laden team like the Ravens, moving on from last Sunday's deflating loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and onto the dangerous Houston Texans (5-7) becomes an easier task. It could be pivotal in determining how the rest of the Ravens' regular season plays out.

"It's over," Lewis said. "[The Steelers are] 9-3; we're 8-4. And now, we're facing a team this week that, if you did dwell on last week, you can get embarrassed on Monday night, because they have the type of talent in the Houston Texans."

Baltimore hasn't lost back-to-back games since Oct. 18, 2009. If the Ravens can avoid a collapse over the final four-game stretch of the season, they should clinch a playoff spot. They enter Week 14 with a two-game wild-card lead.

Lewis said he had individual and group discussions with younger players.

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"It's about me just getting in their heads and trying to get into their mentalities about what we should be doing or what we should be focusing on," Lewis said.

Baltimore had plenty of reasons to quickly turn the page this week in practice – beyond the obvious playoff implications.

First, the Texans are a talented team clawing for a playoff spot. Due to the struggles of the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, Houston remains on the fringe of the race despite losing five of its last six games.

"Houston's a good team," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. "We know if we can go down there and get a win, it can give us motivation and give us our swag back for the last part of the season."

Second, there's the Monday night stage, which the Ravens viewed as a positive on tails of their Sunday Night Football shocker. They'll be right back out in front of the nation for everyone to see if they can rebound.

"It's primetime," said Reed, who exchanged texts with his secondary mates the night after Sunday's loss, encouraging them not to get down on themselves.

"When the lights come on, guys got to be ready to play. You have to know the implications and it's a little more on Monday night. You want to be where everybody's watching. That's why you play the game."

THREE THINGS FOR A RAVENS WIN

Limit the Big Play: Houston's offense feasts on big plays, particularly to wide receiver Andre Johnson. If the Ravens can keep the ball in front of them, that will also help the defense clamp down on Houston's strong run game, led by tailback Arian Foster. Watch for ball-hawking safety Ed Reed.

Attack the Secondary: *There's no denying where the Texans' weakness lies. Houston's secondary is 31st in the league, allowing 287.4 yards per game. Baltimore will likely be without tight end Todd Heap*, but the Ravens still have the vertical threats to challenge Houston's young cornerbacks.

*Finish the Game: *While they've had problems closing out games, the Texans lead the NFL in points scored in the fourth quarter. The Ravens, meanwhile, have forfeited fourth-quarter leads in six games this season, resulting in four losses. If Baltimore can establish the run game, that could help control the clock and finish off Houston.

8-4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2010 Record . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5-7

Lost 1. . . . . . . . . . . . Current Streak . . . . . . . . . . . .Lost 1

  1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Points Scored . . . . . . . . . . . . .288
  1. . . . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . . . . .33
  1. . . . . . . . Rushing Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . .16
  1. . . . . . . . Passing Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . .17
  1. . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns on Returns . . . . . . . . . .0

201 . . . . . . . . . . . . Points Against . . . . . . . . . . . . .321

  1. . . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . . . . .38

5 . . . . . . . Rushing Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . .10

  1. . . . . . . . Passing Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . .27
  1. . . . . . . . . . . TDs Allowed by Return . . . . . . . . . . .1

31:04. . . . . . . . . . . Time of Posession Avg.. . . . . . . . . . .28:48

-2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Turnover Ratio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .even

46.2%. . . . . . . . . Red Zone TD Pct. For . . . . . . . . .62.5%

39.3%. . . . . . . . Red Zone TD Pct. Against . . . . . . .65.1%

22.8. . . . . . . . . . . . . KOR Avg. For . . . . . . . . . . . . .19.4

27.2. . . . . . . . . . . . KOR Avg. Against . . . . . . . . . . .22.7

7.0. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PR Avg. For . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6.7

8.0. . . . . . . . . . . . . PR Avg. Against . . . . . . . . . . . .8.0

Ravens

Texans

Category

Stats

Rank

Stats

Rank

Total Offense

341.7

14

373

7

Rush Offense

108.4

16

130.5

7

Pass Offense

233.3

15

242.5

10

Points/Game

21.7

17

24

11

Total Defense

305.8

7

388.8

29

Rush Defense

97.8

6

101.4

10(t)

Pass Defense

208

11

287.4

31

Points/Game

16.8

4

26.8

27

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