How Will Key Injuries Affect Texans vs. Ravens Matchup On Sunday?

By Cooper Welch
Ray Rice
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The reigning Super Bowl champs are always a tough opponent to face, but that challenge becomes even more difficult when they’re also 6-1 in seven games against your team. That’s the challenge the Houston Texans face when they take on the Baltimore Ravens Sunday at 12 p.m. CT. Oh, did I mention that this game is in Maryland, and that there’s a chance Andre Johnson could miss this game?

Johnson received a concussion after a nasty hit from Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard. Johnson suffered the injury after catching a 21-yard bomb from Matt Schaub. He rode the bike Monday during the team’s walkthrough, and is currently going through the NFL‘s concussion protocol.

So will Johnson be back on the field against Baltimore? Probably. Head coach Gary Kubiak is certainly hopeful, telling the media in a presser that he is “making progress”.

Other players that have returned or are returning from injuries include Ed Reed, Whitney Mercilus, Darryl Sharpton and Arian Foster.

Foster looked a lot more like himself against the Titans, putting up 79 yards on 19 carries for a 4.2 yards per carry average. That’s close to his career average of 4.4 YPC. He also had the game-tying touchdown run and two-point conversion. Expect him to continue splitting carries with Ben Tate, as the Texans would be crazy to stop using a guy who has an insane 8.2 YPC average and 148 yards in just 18 carries.

Sharpton returned last week and had five tackles and a pass deflection. Mercilus returned in Week 1, and had three tackles in this game. Reed has yet to return to the field, and is the only Texan on the projected starting lineup that has yet to play a down of football.

Reed will make the final decision on whether or not he’ll play, but as I reported earlier this season, Reed loses money for every game he misses (not that it matters that much to him). Reed did participate in pre-game warmups against the Titans, and was almost activated. I’d say it’s a 70 percent chance he finally takes the field this week, and unless there’s a setback, he’s guaranteed to play in Week 4.

What about the Ravens? Do they have any injuries that they’re concerned about heading into Week 3? The short answer is yes and no. Ray Rice was injured in Sunday’s game against the Cleveland BrownsHe suffered a hip flexor strain, but Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh doesn’t think it’s too serious of an injury. Rice will rest during practices and be re-evaluated on Sunday for a game-time decision (sorry, fantasy football owners).

Kubiak was asked about how Rice’s potential to miss the game will affect his game plan. The coach replied that the Ravens’ backfield depth was tough enough that it wouldn’t matter who was their starting running back. Backing up Rice is Bernard Pierce, who leads Baltimore in rushing yards and carries through two games.

“I don’t think it’s going to change anything they do and our focus has got to be on ourselves.” Kubiak said. “… we’re going to have to correct our own stuff and stay concerned with what we’re doing.”

Cooper Welch is a Houston Texans writer for Follow him on Twitter @cooperwelch1991, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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