Five matchups to watch: Texans at Ravens

Five matchups to watch: Texans at Ravens
September 21, 2013, 9:45 am
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Torrey Smith talks Texans


 Five matchups to watch for Texans at Ravens

1. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco vs. Texans safety Ed Reed 

For five years, they faced each other in practice. Sunday, they face it each other in game action, assuming Reed plays. It will be an interesting chess match. No other safety knows Flacco’s tendencies or the Ravens’ offense better than Reed. But Flacco also knows Reed, and may take advantage of his gambling instincts. Reed would relish a pick-six against Flacco. Against Reed, Flacco knows any mistake could lead to a big play.

“When he’s given the opportunity to do something, he usually does it and capitalizes,” Flacco said. “That’s what makes him so good. He doesn’t miss his chances, so we’ve just got to make sure we don’t give him any.”

2. Ravens offensive line vs. Texans DE J. J. Watt

Watt is one of the NFL’s best pass rushers, and his versatility makes him tougher to contain. The Texans move him all across the defensively line, allowing Watt to bring pressure from either side or up the middle. He is also a master at batting down passes. Watt will exploit any weakness he detects along the Ravens’ front. It will be important for the Ravens offensive linemen to communicate well on each play, to identify what Watt wants to do, and how to keep him out of Flacco’s face. 

3. Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb vs. Texans WR Andre Johnson

Johnson and Julian Edelman of the Patriots lead the league in receptions with 20 apiece. Webb has looked good in his first two games following knee surgery. But facing Johnson is tough duty, a receiver who is physical, has size, and runs great routes. The emergence of rookie wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has given quarterback Matt Schaub another weapon in go-to situations. However, if Webb contains Johnson, it will greatly increase the Ravens’ chances.

4. Ravens LB Elvis Dumervil vs. Texans left tackle Ryan Harris

Duane Brown (toe injury) is officially out for Sunday, and Harris will be getting the start in his place. Harris will have to deal with Dumervil, an elite pass rusher. Sounds like a mismatch the Ravens can exploit. Their pass rush has been excellent the first two games. Schaub may see more of Dumervil than he wants to Sunday.

5. Ravens front seven vs. Texans running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate

The Ravens did a good job containing Trent Richardson in Week 2. But the combo of Foster and Tate might be the best in the NFL.  The Ravens believe they are much better defending the run this season. Shutting down Foster and Tate would be an excellent way to prove it.












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