Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans Spread
The Baltimore Ravens travel to face the Houston Texans in a rematch from last season’s AFC Divisional playoffs. Baltimore won that contest 20-13 despite getting outgained 227-315 for the game. The defense picked off T.J. Yates three times in that contest. Arian Foster rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown for Houston, while Joe Flacco threw for 176 yards and two scores for Baltimore. The Ravens have won all six meetings between these franchises.
Oddsmakers have installed a line Houston -6.5 over Baltimore and a total set of 48 points.
The Texans (5-1) entered last week ranked third in total defense (275.6 yards/game) and fourth in scoring defense (14.6 points/game). They allowed 427 total yards in an embarrassing 24-42 home loss to the Green Bay Packers on NBC’s Sunday Night Football to suffer their first loss of the season.
Aaron Rodgers picked apart Houston’s defense, throwing for six touchdowns in the win. Arian Foster was limited to just 29 yards on 17 carries in the loss as the Texans only amassed 321 total yards. Matt Schaub was off as well, completing 20 of 33 passes for 232 yards with two interceptions.
The Texans no longer seem indestructible after their 5-0 start. Still, they rank 6th in the league in total defense (300.9 yards/game), giving up just 87.7 yards on the ground and 213.2 through the air even after last week’s poor performance. They are also 14th in total offense (363.4 yards/game), including 6th in rushing (134.2 yards/game).
Schaub is completing 63.2 percent of his passes for 1,394 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Foster has rushed for 561 yards and seven touchdowns, but he’s only averaging 3.8 per carry. Andre Johnson leads the team with 25 receptions for 358 yards and two touchdowns.
The Ravens (5-1) managed to beat the Dallas Cowboys 31-29 last Sunday despite giving up 481 total yards and a franchise-record 227 on the ground. But the win did not come without a price as they lost veteran linebacker Ray Lewis (torn triceps) and star cornerback Lardarius Webb (torn ACL) to season-ending injuries.
Lewis had a team-high seven tackles and Webb intercepted two passes from T.J. Yates in last season’s playoff win over the Texans. The Ravens were already without reigning defensive player of the year Terrell Suggs as he recovers from a torn ACL. However, Suggs has been removed from the PUP list and practiced for the first time Wednesday, though he isn’t expected to return until November.
Baltimore ranks 8th in the league in total offense (386.0 yards/game) behind an improved passing attack that ranks 11th in the NFL at 272.7 yards/game. The defense had taken a huge step back this season, even before the losses of Lewis and Webb. The Raven rank 25th in the league in total defense (396.7 yards/game).
Flacco is completing 61.7 percent of his passes for 1,690 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Ray Rice has rushed for 482 yards and five scores, while also catching 24 balls for 233 yards. Anquan Boldin leads all receivers with 28 catches for 429 yards and a touchdown.
Prediction: Houston 27 – Baltimore 20
Oddsmakers have set a pretty good number here. If you can get the Texans at 6.5 then it’s certainly worth a shot. Baltimore had already been struggling defensively before all of these injuries, and things aren’t going to get any better with Lewis and Webb out. The Ravens are extremely fortunate to be 5-1 right now, and they aren’t nearly as good as their record. Houston is every bit as good as its 5-1 record. It will be motivated after a poor performance against the Packers, and I look for the Texans to take out their frustration on the Ravens Sunday.