Who needs a bye week?
I’m kidding, but it has been kinda fun (from a fan’s perspective) to watch the Ravens for so many consecutive Sundays. We get to watch our team every week, and as long as they stay healthy – no harm, no foul. After this week, hopefully we can all move on from “Bye Week Gate”.
The Texans are decimated by injuries, not just at the quarterback position, but defensively as well. Linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Zach Diles, Houston’s two leading tacklers, did not practice all week. Diles has already been placed on IR with a broken leg and Ryans is nursing a shoulder injury.
Jared Gaither is going to have his hands full with Mario Williams, who has recorded 6 sacks in the past 5 games. Gaither has been outstanding in run blocking and has played admirably protecting Flacco against the pass rush. He’s already had to deal with Dwight Freeney and James Harrison, but this week will prove to be his tallest task.
The Texans are ranked 23rd in rush defense, yielding more than 125 yards per game on the ground. With their top two tacklers likely out for the game, and considering Ray Rice’s coming out party last week, the Ravens will win this game if they get up early.
My prediction: I think Flacco continues his magical run and leads the Ravens to a victory and a 6-3 record. Considering I picked a trap game last week, I just can’t bring myself to do it this week. The Ravens go into Houston with a chip on their shoulder and take out their “Bye Week Gate” frustrations on the Texans.
Ravens – 29
Texans – 12
Pivotal Match-Up: Jared Gaither vs. Mario Williams. If Williams can beat up Gaither and force Flacco to commit some turnovers early, the Texans could get up early, gain some momentum, and win this game at home.
Where it could all go wrong: The old cliche: too many turnovers. I really can’t see the Texans beating the Ravens any other way, unless Andre Johnson has his way with the Ravens and Baltimore’s offense becomes ineffective.
Surprising statistic: Joe Flacco has a higher completion percentage than Eli Manning.
*NEW* Flaccoism of the Week: From Mike R. - “Joe Flacco’s sweat droplets can cure AIDS. Too bad he’s always too cool to sweat.”
Last Week’s winner: Johnny Rocket picked the closest score, predicting a 22-16 Ravens win. I don’t think anyone could have predicted the Ravens to put up 37 points on the road. My pick: 23-17 Browns. Actual score: 37-27 Ravens.
Week 8 winner: Nestminder is our first back-to-back winner picking the Ravens to win 24-6. We had a record-low in the number of predictions received, but we can rebound this week. We’ll chalk that one up to the new website. My pick: 27-6 Ravens. Actual score: 29-10 Ravens
Week 7 winner: Nestminder picked a 20-13 Ravens victory and Polostat was a close second. My pick: 24-16 Ravens. Actual score: 27-13 Ravens.
Week 6 winner: Johnny Rocket correctly picked against the Ravens, per usual, predicting a 32-8 Colts victory. My pick: 28-23 Colts. Actual score: 31-3 Colts.
Week 5 winner: Columbia Ken picked the closest score, predicting a 17-13 Titans victory. My pick: 17-9 Ravens. Actual score: 13-10 Titans
Week 4 winner: Jon R. reluctantly picked a 24-20 win for the Steelers. My pick: 13-10 Ravens. Actual score: 23-20 Steelers (OT)
Week 3 winner: EazyE picked a 23-13 win for the Ravens vs. Cleveland. My pick: 23-13 Ravens. Actual score: 24-10 Ravens.
What are your predictions this week? And leave a Flaccoism!