Ravens vs. Texans: The Battle For First In The AFC

The banged up Baltimore Ravens are about to play their toughest game this season when they take on the Houston Texans in the Lone Star State. They have the best records in the AFC, tied at 5-1, this game could determine home-field advantage for the playoffs later this season.

The wounded birds will play without their star middle linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb. Lewis tore his triceps muscle last Sunday and had surgery this week, he was added to the special injured reserve list and is eligible to return in six weeks, the exact date has yet to be determined.

Webb tore his ACL and also had surgery; he will miss the rest of the season.

The good news for the Ravens is that linebacker Terrell Suggs came off the PUP list; and returned to practice on Wednesday. He was expected to return to the field in mid-to-late November, but now he is listed as a game time decision. Chances are slim-to-none that he will actually play; no one is talking about it including head coach John Harbaugh:

“I don’t know,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said on Friday. “We will see.” “If I knew I wouldn’t tell you.”

The final decision will come Sunday morning.

It was reported that safety Ed Reed has a torn labrum in his shoulder, though he is not listed on the injury report.  Coach Harbaugh said the injury is not a concern and that Reed should be suited up on Sunday.

Several players are listed as questionable for Sunday:

  • Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s game. Injury is listed as “minor”.
  • Cornerback Jimmy Smith also hurt Sunday. Smith would replace Webb, but if he can’t play then Corey Graham will start for him.
  • Nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu also hurt his knee last Sunday. Told reporters that he is “good to go”.
  • Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie has a thigh injury and was limited at practice this week.

The Texans are favored to win the game; the cards seem to be stacked against the Ravens, but they aren’t going down without a fight.

With a banged up defense, the Ravens’ offense needs to step it up and score a lot of points. The defense needs to do their best to stop Texans’ running back Arian Foster.

I am hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst in this game. Worst case scenario is that the Ravens lose the game; a loss would give them a 5-2 record before their bye next week which wouldn’t be the end of the world.

I’m curious to see how the defense will look without Lewis AND Webb. I’m not sure if the Ravens will use the no-huddle offense, noise will definitely be a factor in this game and I want to see how quarterback Joe Flacco handles the pressure; he needs to take control of the game.

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