It's gameday Ravens Nation and you know what that means, it's time once again for Ravens101's five key matchups to watch for in today's game. There is a lot of intrigue in today's Baltimore Ravens vs Houston Texans AFC battle, and there are several matchups to watch for.
Although it may be popular demand, believe it or not, Ray Lewis is not involved in one of our key matchups to watch for, but it will be great to have him back at M&T Bank Stadium as he gets inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor today.
Week three is here, and here our of five key matchups to watch for today as the Ravens try to improve to 2-1.
Ravens O-Line vs Texans D-Line
With Ray Rice being doubtful to play in today's game, Bernard Pierce is going to be the feature back for the Ravens and the offensive line's ability to open holes for Pierce is crucial. Undoubtedly, Flacco is going to want to use the play action pass today in order to keep JJ Watt and company hesitant to pin their ears back and come right after the quarterback, thus the line's ability to open holes for Pierce is essential. Houston ranks in the bottom half of teams in the league thus far allowing an average of 99.5 rushing yards per game.
Ravens defense vs Owen Daniels
It is pretty apparent that Baltimore has struggled to cover opposing tight ends so far this season, and it does not get any easier today as Houston TE Owen Daniels provides quite a matchup concern. If a linebacker is assigned to cover Daniels, they better be ready for a battle with a pretty quick guy who has good hands. If a safety or nickel corner covers Daniels, there will be a height discrepancy between the coverage and Daniels. Daniels has reeled in seven grabs for 91 yards this season, which doesn't jump off the page, but his three touchdown receptions already, shows he is their go-to target in the redzone.
Ravens passing offense vs Texans passing defense
Houston may not be a stifling rush defense, but their pass defense thus far this season is tremendous. Houston ranks third in the NFL allowing just 156 passing yards per game and a lot of that is due to their great pass rush with Watt and company. The Texans have recorded two and four sacks in each of their first two games this season and the Ravens ability to pass the ball will be a big question mark heading into the game. Already light on high talent at receiver, the Ravens wide receivers are going to have a coming out party this week to help Flacco and this passing offense.
Justin Tucker vs Justin Tucker
This shouldn't be that surprising to see on the list this week as Tucker missed both of his field goal attempts in last week's 14-6 victory over the Browns. Tucker is 2-4 this season thus far and thus ranks the Ravens as third worst in field goal percentage. As a professional, Tucker had never missed two in a row, and it will be interesting to see how he does on his first attempt, and even more interesting how he and Head Coach John Harbaugh would react if Tucker were to miss his first attempt today.
Watt, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is known for his pass rushing ability and for swatting down passes. Flacco is going to have to avoid the big hit from Watt as well as seeing his passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. At least for today, Flacco's new best friend should become the pump fake as that will help slow Watt's thought process down when he goes to leave his feet to attempt to swat a pass. Also, it will be on Flacco today to get the ball out of his hands quickly before Watt and the other Houston pass rushers can get to him.
These are out five key matchups to watch for in today's Texans vs Ravens game, what do you think? Did we leave a matchup off that should definitely have been added? Let your voice be heard by posting a comment!
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