Why Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans is such a big game
The Ravens battle with the Texans is huge. Here is why this is such a big game:
For the Ravens:
If the Baltimore Ravens beat the Texans it would put them in a great situation. The purple and black would be 8-2. The Cleveland Browns have six losses and the Pittsburgh Steelers have five losses. To even have a shot the Browns have to run the table. That’s not going to happen. The Steelers could get to 11-5. That’s feasible with their schedule however they still have to play the Ravens in week 17 and they haven’t proven to be impervious to slip ups along the way.
If the Ravens win today, they can most likely lock up their second consecutive AFC North crown with three more wins. Baltimore has the New York jets, Buffalo Bills and Browns left on their schedule. If they can beat the Texans, they are surely good enough to get at least three more wins after that. At the very least, beating the Texans (one of the tougher remaining opponents) would give the Ravens a little more margin of error.
At 8-2 the Baltimore would still be in play for the number one seed. If the Ravens win and the New England Patriots lose to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Ravens would take on the top position in the AFC. A playoff bye would be very helpful to Baltimore. The Ravens have always done things the hard way, but they have never been this exciting. Taking the easier path just requires the Ravens to handle their business.
For the Texans:
The Texans are 6-3 in one of the more lumped together divisions in the NFL. The Indianapolis Colts are 5-4 and as long as Jacoby Brissett is fine they are a viable team. The Tennessee Titans just beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Ryan Tannehill took the quarterback job from Marcus Mariota and the Titans may be a threat to take the AFC South from Houston. The Texans want to stay in front in the division. They still have a showdown with the Colts and another battle with the Titans.
The Texans don’t want to slip into the muddled wild card race. The Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, Steelers, Titans and Colts all have viable paths towards a wild card spot. This isn’t the year to go 9-7 or 10-6. This is the year to win your division and to control your destiny. This isn’t a must win for the Texans but a loss changes the conversation in the AFC South. If the Texans fall to the Ravens, it’s anybodies AFC South (anybody except the Jaguars).
For the MVP conversation:
This is pretty simple math. If Baltimore wins against the Texans, Jackson will have beaten two MVP candidates. He already got past Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. The Ravens gave the New England Patriots their first loss and Jackson stole the show on Sunday Night Football. A win would make Jackson’s Ravens 8-2 and it would make it very difficult to suggest that any player was more valuable than him.
If the Texans take down the Baltimore, Watson may be able to go from in the MVP conversation to the front runner. The Texans aren’t winning this game unless Watson goes off for a huge stat line. If Watson wants to be the MVP of the NFL, he has to take over this game.
One way or the other, the MVP conversation could boil down to what happens on November 17, 2019. This game is huge for both teams and it will shape the narrative of the NFL season.