TV Schedule: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS
Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium
Weather: Low 58, High 76
Line: Houston (-2.5)
The Houston Texans have gotten away with two down-to-the-wire victories to begin the 2013 season. Matt Shaub has been clutch at quarterback for the Texans when he needs to be and rookie wide out DeAndre Hopkins has emerged as a star — especially in Andre Johnson‘s absence. Hopkins has caught 12 passes for 183 yards and a game-winning touchdown so far this season, proving he has what it takes to be the next big thing at wide receiver in this league. Arian Foster has scuffled a bit this season and has since seen his carries split with Ben Tate. Foster actually has less rushing yards than Tate on 19 more carries.
On the other side of the field, the Baltimore Ravens are defending Super Bowl champs, but they are struggling on offense this season. Joe Flacco passed for over 300 yards in a week one loss, but was not as lucky in a week two win. The reigning Super Bowl champion quarterback needs some targets to throw to as one of his favorite targets, Jacoby Jones, suffered a knee injury that is set to keep him out for the foreseeable future. Torrey Smith looks to shoulder the load for the receiving corps in Jones’ absence. He has 11 catches for 177 yards and no scores this season while Marlon Brown has 110 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches. Running back Ray Rice might play this weekend with a hip flexor problem, but if not, this offense could be in for an even longer day.
Defensively, the Ravens have one of the worst passing defenses in the league through the first two games. In fact, the Ravens allow 319 pass yards per game. It all has to do with the fact this unit lost many key pieces from last year’s Super Bowl defense. On the other hand, the Texans allow about 130 yards less per game than Baltimore. A big reason for the Texans’ defensive success is the strong secondary which allows just 156 passing yards per game. It could be a long day for Flacco.
PREDICTION: Texans 31, Ravens 24