Top 3 ways Baltimore Ravens can beat the Houston Texans in Week 1

The Baltimore Ravens need to get after C.J. Stroud and control the football to win week one
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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The Baltimore Ravens week one game against the Houston Texans is close to a must-win. A loss would spell disaster for a team with Super Bowl aspirations in a division where every game will count. They enter the game as 10-point favorites, so oddsmakers say they have a great shot, and a loss would be a major upset.

What can the Baltimore Ravens do to secure a victory in week one?

3. Can the Baltimore Ravens confuse C.J. Stroud?

C.J. Stroud is going to be in a tough spot this weekend. Stroud is on the road to start his career in a tough environment. He gets the Baltimore Ravens defense, which is never easy, and worse than that, his offensive line is already missing a couple of starters.

To put icing on the cake, Stroud happens to be seeing a defensive coordinator who knows him better than any other coach in the NFL. Stroud will take on Mike MacDonald for the second time in his career, because MacDonald called plays for Michigan back in 2021. The Wolverines beat Stroud, who had a solid game, but also was shut out in the third quarter when the game flipped.

At Ohio State, Stroud had Chris Olave, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Garrett Wilson. This year, his receivers are worse. Meanwhile, MacDonald had some NFL talent at Michigan, but while OSU had more talent than Michigan and lost, this time MacDonald has the play makers.

Between Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith in the middle of the line, and Kyle Hamilton sitting deep, the Ravens have high-end athletes who are also premier blitzers. MacDonald is not quite Wink Martindale in the way he mixes up blitzes, but he can mix it up, and he relied on simulated pressures a lot more to get in the head of the quarterback.

With this line, and with that little experience you have to believe that Stroud will be swimming early. If MacDonald throws a few change-ups, it could spell disaster.