Two weeks ago, the Ravens put a Sunday night beatdown on Rex Ryan's Jets, with a final score of 34-17. The defense put together a performance as good as you'll see, forcing four turnovers, all at the hands of Jets QB Mark Sanchez. The domination started early, when Ed Reed came off the blind side to sack Sanchez and force a fumble that was returned to the end zone by Jameel McClain. The Jets tied it up quickly, when Joe McKnight returned the following kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown. After a Billy Cundiff field goal, Ray Rice pounded it into the end zone, and the Ravens had a 17-7 lead at the end of one quarter. After another Cundiff field goal, Sanchez fumbled, and Jarret Johnson picked it up and returned it for a touchdown. As good as the Ravens defense was, the offense was just that sloppy. Soon after, Joe Flacco under-threw a screen pass, and Jets LB David Harris picked it off returned it back for a score. Nick Folk added a field goal, and the Jets were within 10 points after a first half that lasted two hours. The second half moved much quicker, and midway through the third quarter, the Jets were driving and gaining a ton of momentum. Sanchez stepped back and threw across his body, and Lardarius Webb stepped in front of the pass and returned it for the last score of the game. The rest of the game was defined by more Ravens defensive domination, and the Ravens got a much needed victory. The Jets offense gained just 150 yards of total offense, and Mark Sanchez was under constant pressure. With this game, the Ravens defense has proved that they have the ability to win games on their own, which could be important if Flacco has another game like last week.
Player of the Game: DT Haloti Ngata-2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
Last Week's Key to the Game: Last week, I said that the Ravens needed a balanced offensive attack, but Flacco's bunch came out looking restless and uneasy, and if it weren't for our outstanding defense, we would have lost this game.
The Ravens had their bye week last Sunday.
This Sunday, the Ravens welcome the 3-2 Houston Texans to Baltimore. Ravens FB Vonta Leach and S Bernard Pollard are both former Texans, and should be looking for a little bit of revenge against the team that didn't re-sign them. Houston is coming off a devastating home loss to the Raiders, so they'll surely have some redemption on their mind as well. Texans WR Andre Johnson, their main offensive playmaker, will miss the game with a hamstring injury. With Johnson's injury, the Texans felt the need to acquire another receiver, so they traded for former Raven Derrick Mason. Mason has been with the Jets all season, and played against the Ravens just two weeks ago. I guess he just can't resist Baltimore. The Ravens defense still has to deal with RB Arian Foster, who was the last running back to gain 100 yards against them. QB Matt Schaub is injured but expected to play, as he's been bothered by a sore right shoulder. As for the Texans defense, they have completely turned around since last year, when they finished dead last in pass defense. The addition of CB Jonathan Joseph, who was previously with the Bengals, has meant the world to this defense. But their main impact on defense comes from former first overall pick Mario Williams, who went down in last week's loss, and will miss the rest of the season. Facing such a banged up team, and riding high off a great performance, I have the Ravens winning, 27-13.
Key to the Game: The Ravens should be able to take advantage of this banged-up team, and on paper, this shouldn't even be close. But this game isn't played on paper, and if the Ravens over-think the Texans' many injuries, they could be in trouble.
Key Matchups for Texans at Ravens
Ravens S Ed Reed vs. Texans QB Matt Schaub Edge: Reed
Ravens defensive line vs. Texans RB Arian Foster Edge: Push
Ravens WR Anquan Boldin vs. Texans CB Jonathan Joseph Edge: Joseph
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Texans LB DeMeco Ryans Edge: Rice
CB Chris Carr-Thigh-OUT
WR Lee Evans-Ankle-OUT
CB Jimmy Smith-Ankle-OUT
S Tom Zbikowski-Head-OUT
G Ben Grubbs-Toe-QST
WR Andre Johnson-Hamstring-OUT
FB James Casey-Chest-DBT
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see you next week and Go Ravens!