Notes on the Texans offense:
Deshaun Watson is as good as advertised. One thing that could hurt the Ravens is Watson’s ability to make something out of nothing. Watson is one of the most slippery quarterbacks I have ever seen, he’s hard to get down on the ground. The Ravens cannot go for the fumble, they have to run through Watson squarely every chance they get. This is a strength and a weakness for Watson. He makes unbelievable plays but his belief that he can make anything happen with his arm gets him into trouble. Watson will force throws, this is a game where the Ravens have to set him up and trap him into an interception or two.
The Texans offensive line is good, but it’s not great. Tytus Howard is a decent right tackle but speed off the edge is something he’s not great at dealing with. If I were the defensive coordinator I would coordinate my blitzes to punish the right tackle. They are solid inside the offensive line and Laremy Tunsil is having a great season at left tackle. If Tunsil plays it’s big for the Texans and if he misses the game it’s huge for Baltimore. If there is a place to attack it’s the right tackle. If you get a jump on him you can get him off balanced and good things can happen for the defense.
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The Texans set up everything with their rushing attack. Carlos Hyde is their primary ball carrier. Duke Johnson is their primary receiver out of the backfield. The running back in the game does tip the Texans hand. Carlos Hyde has 149 rushing attempts while Johnson has 54. Having Johnson in the game means that a pass is more likely. Johnson is a dangerous player for the Ravens considering their struggles covering running backs out of the backfield.
In short yardage situations the Texans typically prefer to put the ball in Watson’s hands. They had a play in a full house formation near the goal line where the tight end sneaked into the end zone, Watson rolled out and the defenders bit on it. Easy touchdown. Look for play fakes with high percentage completions in these spots. The Texans like to run the ball but when they need something badly it seems like they trust Watson’s decision making more than their ground game.
The Texans have a quality offense. DeAndre Hopkins is a superstar. Kenny Stills is their version of Willie Snead. Darren Fells is a sneaky good player.
For the defense it’s about stopping Carlos Hyde. The additions of Domato Peko and Justin Ellis should help the defensive line eat up space. This is a game where the Ravens really need their linebackers to make a difference. If the Ravens can stop the run and make the Texans one dimensional beating Watson is just like beating Russell Wilson. Martindale has to trust his defensive backs to limit Watson’s weapons. The Texans will make plays, the Ravens however can slow them down.