PFF Primer: Ravens at Texans

| December 13, 2010

These teams last played in Week 10 of the 2008 season, when the Ravens went to Houston and dominated, 41-13. Instead of winning with their high-powered defense, the Ravens won with their offense. Ravens LT Jared Gaither (+5.8) got the best of DRE Mario Williams (-5.0) in both the pass and the run.

Tight end Todd Heap (+5.5) was also a star in this one, having a good game catching the ball and blocking for the run. He caught all five passes thrown to him, getting 58 yards — with 28 of them being after the catch — and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Ravens, he’s out for tonight’s game.

The Texans need to…

Get the ball to their TEs

The Texans have gotten good use out of their backup TE Joel Dreessen (+2.1) during the absence of Owen Daniels (+0.3). Now that Daniels is back, they will get to use both of these TEs against a powerful Ravens defense. Outside of ILB Ray Lewis (+13.3), the Ravens’ linebackers aren’t the best in coverage. The Texans’ offensive line should be able to keep the Ravens’ defensive line away from QB Matt Schaub (+34.9) long enough for him to find his tight ends open for a handful of passes in the game.

The Ravens need to…

Give Ray Rice chances to have a huge game

After playing below expectations for a lot of the season, Rice (+3.7) has had a rating in the green in three of the past five games. The Texans are absolutely horrible against the run. The Ravens could also have their way throwing against the Ravens, but Rice has been on a hot streak recently, whereas Joe Flacco (+27.0) has only been a little above average of late. Both should be able to get the job done, but the run game should get it done better.

Matchups

Texans HB Arian Foster vs. Ravens Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs

The Texans’ best offensive weapon this year has been Foster (+15.2). However, over the past four games he hasn’t been as strong running the ball. His yards after contact per attempt have gone from 2.8 at the start of the season to 2.5 over the past four games. He goes up against a Ravens run defense, led by Ngata (+19.5 vs. the run) and Suggs (18.6 vs. the run), that is one of the best in the league. The Ravens are poised to stop the Texans’ best weapon in this game.

Ravens LT Michael Oher vs. Texans DRE Mario Williams

Despite at one point leading all AFC offensive tackles in Pro Bowl voting, Oher (-9.5) has been the worst-rated starting offensive lineman on the Ravens this year and 50th in our tackle grades. He goes up against Williams (+20.7), who is just about the only  player worth mentioning on the Texans’ defense. This is the one matchup the Texans’ defense will absolutely have to win if Houston wants to keep its faint playoff hopes alive.

Notes

Suggs is tied for the lead with all defensive linemen in the number of combined sacks and hits (28). … Texans CBs Kareem Jackson (-13.1) and Glover Quin (0.0) are second and third worst among cornerbacks in terms of yards after the catch allowed with 327 and 294.

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