Usually I’ll write one of these posts about a “must” win situation. But with the Ravens and Houston being the only two AFC teams above .500 (5-1 each); the Ravens can afford a loss and going into the bye at 5-2.
Quite frankly, as poorly as the purple birds have played since the Patriot’s game; the fact that they are 5-1 is both pleasant and baffling. Given the strange occurrences over the past five weeks, the Ravens could have any record combination of six games. The only game that was never in question, was the opening Monday Night Cincinnati game in week one.
The Ravens lead the AFC North by two over the Bengals (3-3), and 2½ over the Steelers (2-3). A loss in Houston would allow only one of the above teams mentioned to gain ground since they each play each other Sunday Night in Ohio.
Although the Ravens are 6-0 against Houston lifetime (5-0 regular season/1-0 playoffs, 4-0 in Houston & 2-0 in Baltimore): I do not expect the streak to continue against the upstart Texans.
With the injury laced defense, and ineffectiveness to stop the run, I fully expect Arian Foster to have a big day.
Houston will play with vengeance to make up for last year’s playoff loss to Baltimore. My only hope is that the birds “play up” to their competition. A performance like last week or the week before will prove to be an ugly scene for Raven fans.
Both teams will want to make a statement. The winner will be the top dog in the AFC and the likely host of the AFC Championship Game.