BALTIMORE RAVENS (5-1)
at HOUSTON TEXANS (5-1)
Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Houston -6.5, Total: 48.5
The banged-up Ravens go for a fifth straight win when they visit the Texans on Sunday.
The Ravens are scraping by, winning four in a row SU while failing to cover in any of those games (winning by a combined total of 13 points). Now, they’ll be without two of their key defensive players for the rest of the year: LB Ray Lewis (triceps) and CB Lardarius Webb (ACL). Baltimore beat Houston twice last season, but both those games were at home. The Texans fell apart early last week, keeping two Packers drives alive with special teams penalties on fourth down, and having to throw away their game plan after trailing big. The Ravens' new up-tempo offense has generated just 298 and 316 yards of offense the past two games.
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Ravens QB Joe Flacco has enjoyed facing the Texans in the past, throwing for an average of 213 YPG with 6 TD and 1 INT. WR Anquan Boldin has been on fire in the past three weeks with 18 catches for 311 yards. He has also had great success in this series with 30 catches for 461 yards and 2 TD in five career meetings with Houston. RB Ray Rice has also done some damage to Houston in the past three meetings, all within the last 22 months, totaling 361 yards (120 per game) in this three-game span. Although OLB Terrell Suggs says he's ready to return from his Achilles injury suffered in the preseason, it is highly unlikely that he'll be in uniform on Sunday. DT Haloti Ngata also suffered a knee injury last week, but he does expect to start. Although the Ravens have allowed 441 rushing yards in the past two weeks, they also have seven turnovers in this span, giving them 13 for the six-game season.
The Texans figure to employ a heavy rushing attack on Sunday. Not only do they have the sixth-best running game in the NFL (134 YPG) led by Arian Foster (561 rush yds, 7 TD), but they are facing an injury-riddled Ravens defense that just allowed a franchise-worst 227 rushing yards to an average Dallas ground game on Sunday. Foster compiled 132 rushing yards and a touchdown in last year's playoffs defeat in Baltimore. However, Houston's ground game stalled last week with just 90 yards on 28 carries. QB Matt Schaub has been scuffling in the past two games (1 TD, 3 INT), but the one career home game he had versus Baltimore, he threw the ball 62 times for 393 yards and three touchdowns. Houston's defense has held five of six opponents under 100 rushing yards, but was lit up for 328 passing yards and six touchdowns by Aaron Rodgers last week. Star CB Johnathan Joseph (groin) and S Quintin Demps (forearm) are both questionable for Sunday's game.