Week 2 Preview: Baltimore at Houston

What a difference a week makes. The Baltimore defense looked impenetrable, the amount of Joe Flacco jerseys sold has jumped one thousand fold and the team looked so good last Sunday that the NFL moved them to a double header on Monday night. And or course all of those statements were wild exaggerations.

But, it is a sign that things are looking up from the Ravens side after a divisional win over an opponent that has had their number in the recent past. The pass rush has returned, as well as Rex Ryan?s exotic blitz packages. Did they really use eight defensive backs at one point? The defense got in Palmer?s face and had him on the run early. They were able to shut down the run and jam the receivers at the point of attack. They will need to follow a similar defensive game plan for this weeks tilt.

Joe Flacco has been all the talk this week with fans hoping that he may finally be the one to end the QB carousel. His next test is to run the offense but in his first road game. The good news I guess is that Willis McGahee will be back in the lineup to join what was a very potent running game against Cincy to help take any pressure off his shoulders.

The game was just announced that it would be moved to Monday as Hurricane Ike inches closer to the Houston area. So this isn?t some network promotion, just a safety measure.

Houston on the other side is still smarting from the Steeler smack down and with an early 0-2 hole staring them in the face, they will need to shake off their poor showing and defend their turf. There have been some that have said that this may be an even bigger game from the Texans as they were picked to be this year?s surprise playoff team. For them it will start with Matt Schaub, who was a bit turnover prone in the opener. The Ravens will need to get him moving around early. The Texans have a solid receiving corps led by Andre Johnson but will have to go with the rookie Steve Slaton in the backfield as Ahman Green recovers. The team also hopes that the other ten players on defense can remember to join Mario Williams as he attempts to tackle the opposition.

So heading into the second game on the schedule, the Ravens look a little bit better in this matchup than I previously thought. It?s easy though to fall into the trap of judging team?s after one game. Can you believe that some news sites were reporting the Ravens as the league?s top rushing team? I think the deciding factor here is coaching and John Harbaugh has some solid ones. The execution is the issue. I hate to play the should have game but two sure catches and last week?s game is a blowout by three touchdowns. Not what anyone expected. But, if the Ravens stay away from costly turnovers they can win this game. They run well, Texans can?t defend the run. Texans line had trouble with blitz coverage. Ravens will blitz all day. In the end it will be closer than you think but the Ravens are a surprising 2-0 after Monday.

Ravens 23 Texans 14

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