Baltimore Ravens vs Houston Texans: Keys to Victory Week Sixteen

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Sep 22, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Bernard Pierce (30) avoids the tackle of Houston Texans safety Shiloh Keo (31) during the game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

A mere two weeks ago, facing the Houston Texans was a much more daunting task than it is now.  Not to say that they aren’t still a dangerous team, but the Texans had just about the worst Sunday a team could have last week when they lost quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tom Savage to season ending injuries.  This, a mere two weeks after losing previous starter Ryan Mallet to injured reserve.

It’s a ridiculous twist of luck that the Ravens know all too well.  They have placed an astounding 16 players on I.R. themselves this year, a good number of which were cornerbacks or safeties.  They have resorted to signing guys off the street and rolling them out as starters in the defensive backfield, a reality the Texans must now face at perhaps the game’s most important position.

The Ravens secured the six seed in the AFC playoff race with a win over the Jaguars last week, and still reside a half game behind the AFC North leading Bengals.  Either way, the Ravens currently have an 82% chance of securing a playoff berth, while the Texans have a mere 6% chance that would require them to win out and get help from seven other teams.  Not looking to hot for them right now.

But statistics like that don’t matter much to prideful teams.  Just look to last week’s Jaguars game to see proof of that, a team that arguably is better off losing that is still trying to win.  Don’t expect the Texans to lay down and give up either, no matter who lines up at quarterback.

So how do the Ravens secure a win this week and ensure they stay thick in the playoff hunt?  We’ve taken a look at these two teams and come up with the keys to victory, our weekly segment that highlights some obvious mismatches and potential problems that the Ravens can overcome with a proper game plan.

Next: Does it matter who starts at quarterback? Well, yea.