While the biggest matchup of the weekend for the Baltimore Ravens will be their defense against C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans offense, the other side of the ball has huge matchups as well. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense is not the strength, but Jackson is the MVP for a reason. Meanwhile, the Texans' defense is not their strength, but they have come up in huge moments, including a couple of sixes against the Cleveland Browns.
The Baltimore Ravens can get heavy to beat the Houston Texans
Still, when these two sides of the ball match up, there is one huge advantage that could point to the Ravens' success. It is their usage of Patrick Ricard. The Ravens run 21 personnel, which is two running backs, one tight end, and two wideouts on 24% of their offense plays, which is third most in the NFL. They like to get Ricard out there because he can play both fullback and tight end and give them good run and pass looks.
The Ravens rank sixth in expected points added when they are in 21. They only run 12 personnel, which is one running back and two tight ends, 11.6% of the time, but they rank first in EPA out of 12 personnel as well. When they go heavy, they have passing advantages that other teams do not.
Meanwhile, the Texans are at their worst when teams go heavy against them. They rank 17th against 21 personnel and 25th against 12 personnel. However, they have only seen 5.4% of their snaps come against 21, while the Ravens run closer to 25% of their snaps in this alignment.
When the Texans face 12 personnel, they play base defense 70% of the time, and when they face 21 personnel, they play base 75.7% of the time. When the Texans play base defense, they rank 22nd in the NFL in EPA per play, and they rank 30th in EPA per play against the pass.
The Texans do not have the linebackers to keep their heavy personnel on the field and still defend the pass. Meanwhile, the Ravens love to get teams heavy and pass on them. The Ravens have to play Ricard and Charlie Kolar about as much as they would play Nelson Agholor and Rashod Bateman in this game.