NFL Monday Night Predictions
Will Ravens Maintain Pace In Wild Card Race?
Houston made the mistake of allowing Tom Savage to start the season as the number one quarterback, switching to superb rookie Deshaun Watson after Savage bombed out of week one. As a result, the Titans put themselves behind the eight ball with a loss to AFC South division rivals Jaguars. When Watson got hurt, that extra game was salt rubbed in the wound.
Baltimore has had an up-and-down season, defined by superb defense and spotty offensive contributions from creaky QB Joe Flacco. They’ll have a chance to keep pace with the rest of the AFC wild card contenders by taking care of an underpowered Texan lineup.
- Game: Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
- Pick: Ravens Beat -8 Spread, Over 40.5
- NFL Odds Courtesy of Sports Interaction
Texans at Ravens - Vital Trends
Ravens Commanding Defense
If the Ravens win tonight, it will be mostly because of their superb defense, which is ranked second in the NFL in terms of points allowed with a scant 17.1 PPG. Baltimore locks the pass down better than any other team in the league, with their secondary leading in interceptions with 16 and allowing the second least amount of passing yards. Consequently, the Ravens run defense allows the sixth most yards, but tightens up in the red zone, ceding only six TDs on the ground.
Houston’s Surprisingly Decent Offense
Despite a devastating injury to QB Deshaun Watson, the Titans haven’t completely fallen off the map offensively. They managed to hang 31 points on the Arizona Cardinals with the strong running duo of D’Onta Foreman and Lamar Miller, who combined for 126 yards. Savage had a rare, strong game, tossing 230 yards and two TD strikes. If Baltimore doesn’t adjust to the Texans run game, they’ll give up more points than usual.
Texans Another Squad Defined By Injuries
One of the more troubling trends of the NFL has been the number of injuries to the most popular players in the game, sapping talent and excitement from the sport. In addition to Watson’s injury, Houston has dealt with the loss of defensive superstar J.J. Watt due to a broken leg. A total of 20 players will be out due to injury tonight, but the most impactful ailments belong to Houston.
Houston’s Defense Poor Without Watt
The defense of the Texans has bombed to third worst in the NFL without J.J. Watt and other key performers. Without a solid pass rush, the Texans give up the most passing touchdowns in the league, which will play into the hands of Joe Flacco, who could use an easy night. Coach Bill O’Brien seems to overcompensate by focusing too much on the run defense, placing additional stress on Houston’s secondary.
Ravens Have One Of The Best Home Advantages
Baltimore ranks in the top three in terms of the most difficult places for teams to visit in the NFL, as per ESPN. As such, the Ravens enjoy an advantage of more than four points per game, partly because of cold weather conditions. Baltimore fans also make up part of this advantage, driving opposition QBs nuts with wave after wave of crushing noise, making on-field communication extremely difficult.
NFL X-Factors On Monday
The Ravens have owned the Texans throughout Houston’s brief tenure in the AFC, winning seven of nine matchups, including an AFC division playoff match in 2012. However, the last time they met, the Texans walloped the Ravens by a score of 25-13 in 2014.
Baltimore has never lost to Houston at home, winning three consecutive games in their own stadium. The average margin of victory during these games is 12.3 on behalf of the Ravens, and another blowout is likely this evening.
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