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NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Preview: Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens (-9)

Written by Matt Stevens   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 19:30

Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens PicksOnline Betting Overview
Every time the sports world expects a defensive struggle in the playoffs, the exact opposite seems to happen. The betting sports news (BSN Sports) experts have the line at nearly double-digits for this game in favor of the Ravens, but the reality is that this game may wind up being a close and high-scoring affair. These teams have more in common than almost any other matchup in these playoffs and that may be one of the contributing factor to this being a close game. While we can discuss the possibilities of who will win and who will lose, it is unlikely that we will be talking about one team running up the score on the other. But, then again, you never know.

With Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub out of the lineup for the post-season, the remaining similarities between the Texans and Ravens are very stark. Both teams possess a potent running game and both teams have very dominating defenses. At the quarterback position, the pay per head sports experts expect that neither quarterback will be a factor in losing the game for their respective teams.

Houston’s TJ Yates and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco are effective game administrators but neither has a habit of taking over a game. Yates started the season as the Texans’ third-string quarterback but could be playing himself into a starting job on another team. We can expect a grinding game between these two teams, but they may surprise us.

Houston Texans
A 5 dimes review of the Texans’ wild card win over the Cincinnati Bengals showed that the Houston offense was able to handle a defense that is very similar to the Baltimore defense. The Bengals have an excellent pass rush and a decent defensive secondary. The Texans saw weaknesses in the Bengals’ defensive line and running back Arian Foster exploited those weaknesses. When the Texans needed to stretch out the field, it was TJ Yates throwing the ball to Andre Johnson that made those deep plays. This Houston team is much better than people give them credit and the Texans are more than an adequate challenge for the Ravens.

Baltimore Ravens
Whether you write a football column or a hockey blog, it can be easy to bypass the Ravens’ offense when talking about the strengths of the Baltimore football team. But running back Ray Rice is a significant threat that the Texans’ defense is going to have to contain if Houston is going to win this game. On defense, the Ravens have Ed Reed in the secondary which is something that the Bengals did not have. Reed can shut down the Houston passing game on his own if need be.

The Bottom Line
This will be a very good football game and it will be one worthy of being called a divisional playoff game. The Texans have a swagger about them that challenges the Ravens’ tenacity. In the end, experience will win out as the Texans learn an important playoff lesson.

BSN Sports Free Pick: Baltimore Ravens

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