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BALTIMORE — It won’t be easy for the banged-up Ravens as they welcome the Houston Texans to Baltimore for an early-season AFC showdown.
Seven Ravens players were listed as doubtful or out on the final injury report of the week, with Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice headlining the list. Rice missed practice all week after suffering a left hip flexor strain in the Week 2 win over Cleveland and will miss his first game since his rookie season in 2008 when he was sidelined for the final three games of the regular season before returning for the playoffs.
Also out for Sunday’s game is defensive end Chris Canty (groin), which will force a shuffle along the Ravens defensive line with Arthur Jones expected to slide to the 5-technique defensive end spot normally occupied by Canty and veteran Marcus Spears moving into Jones’ normal 3-technique defensive tackle position in the base 3-4 defense. The Ravens will also be without rookie linebacker Arthur Brown (pectoral strain), which will impact their nickel defense against the Texans.
Second-year running back Bernard Pierce will start in Rice’s place and figures to be a decent matchup due to his physical running style, but Rice’s ability as a receiver out of the backfield will be missed in the Baltimore passing game. Rice had played in 66 consecutive regular-season games prior to Sunday.
Former Ravens safety Ed Reed will make his debut with the Texans in his return to Baltimore after departing via free agency in the offseason. The 35-year-old missed the first two games of the season while still recovering from offseason hip surgery.
Texans left tackle Duane Brown was downgraded to out on Saturday, which is good news for the Baltimore pass rush as linebacker Terrell Suggs will match up with backup Ryan Harris for much of the afternoon. Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson is active and will play despite sustaining a concussion in the Texans’ Week 2 overtime win over Tennessee.
It will be an emotional day in Baltimore as future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis joins the team’s Ring of Honor. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year and 13-time Pro Bowl selection will be introduced before the game, and the induction ceremony will take place at halftime.
The Ravens are meeting the Texans for the seventh time in the regular season with Baltimore owning a 5-1 edge, and the teams met in the postseason once, a 20-13 victory for Baltimore on Jan. 15, 2012.
Sunday’s referee will be John Parry as the forecast calls for clear skies and temperatures in the 70s Sunday afternoon.
The Ravens are wearing purple jerseys and white pants while Houston is donning white jerseys with blue pants.
Here are Sunday’s inactives:
RB Ray Rice
DE Chris Canty
LB Arthur Brown
DT Brandon Williams
WR Deonte Thompson
WR Jacoby Jones
OL Ryan Jensen
OT Duane Brown
QB Case Keenum
WR Lestar Jean
OLB Sam Montgomery
G Cody White
ILB Justin Tuggle
DE Tim Jamison
Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, and I bring live coverage from M&T Bank Stadium.