PFF's "Three to Focus on" – Texans @ Ravens

Discussion in 'Texans Talk' started by Playoffs, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. Playoffs

    Playoffs Subscribed Contributor

    Apr 26, 2008
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    Three to Focus on – Texans @ Ravens, Week 6
    October 14th, 2011 | Author: Gordon McGuinness

    Many are tipping this game as one with a potential rematch in January, but long before we reach that point both teams need to win a few more games. For Houston the injury news goes from bad to worse. After losing Andre Johnson indefinitely last week, they have now lost their premier pass rusher, and former number 1 overall draft pick, Mario Williams for the season. And now they head, injuries and all, to Baltimore to face a Ravens team fresh off a bye and sitting at the AFC North summit at 3-1. The Ravens had hoped to come out of the bye much healthier but this late in the week there still appears to be doubts over the health of Lee Evans, Chris Carr, Ben Grubbs and Jimmy Smith – all of whom the Ravens need back on the field for a variety of reasons. So where should the focus be when these two square off on Sunday?

    1) Strength v Strength
    Often when you’re looking at matchups to focus on it’s easy to find one where you have a marquee player going up against someone who is struggling, that’s not the case here. It’s hard not to get excited thinking about the Texans running the ball right at the heart of the Ravens defense. Despite a poor performance last week against the Oakland Raiders, Chris Myers (13.6) is still our top rated center by some distance. On the other side of the field, our top MLB against the run, Ray Lewis (7.9 against the run) is having another fine start to the season. 17 of Lewis’ 24 tackles have been for defensive stops. He is no doubt helped by having Haloti Ngata (9.8), our third ranked DT in front of him. But the surprising story in Baltimore has been Terrence Cody. Cody (1.3) is not being pushed around at the line of scrimmage anywhere nearly as much as he was last year and is beginning to look like he may indeed live up to his second round draft tag. If there is an area the Ravens look likely to exploit in this battle it would be the Texans starting guards. Neither Wade Smith (-14.4) or Mike Brisiel (-1.4) are playing at the level they did last year. If they struggle on Sunday in Baltimore, it’s going to be tough for Arian Foster to get much room to run.

    2) Replacing Super Mario
    Could Baltimore have wished for a better set of circumstances heading into this game? Coming off their bye week they find the Texans minus their two biggest stars. The loss of Williams (10.4) looks devastating for Houston. He’s generated five sacks, two hits and 17 pressures this year and was going to be up against Ravens’ OTs Bryant McKinnie (-3.8) and Michael Oher (-7.9) who have struggled this year. Instead McKinnie and Oher will be dealing with Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed. Barwin (-1.5) hasn’t had the same impact as Williams this year with only 11 total pressures on 157 rushes. Reed (-0.4) has only five total pressures and will need to improve on that when he sees his first career start in Baltimore on Sunday. It’s unlikely that either will be able to match what Williams would have produced but how much impact they have will play a key role in the outcome of the game.

    3) Flacco facing a familiar foe
    When Flacco goes under center on Sunday he’ll see an opponent he’s used to facing in the AFC North in former Cincinnati Bengals CB Johnathan Joseph. Joseph’s strong start to the year, he’s allowing receptions on 50% of passes targeted at him, prompted me to take a look back at Flacco’s success, or lack thereof, against him in previous meetings. Here’s what I found: In five previous meetings Flacco has completed 16 of 31 passes thrown at Joseph. What impressed me most was that of those 15 incompletions, 10 of those have been him making a play, be it an interception or a pass defensed. From those five games, Flacco only has one touchdown on Joseph. Flacco would be wise to not target as often as he has in the past on Sunday.
  2. Ole Miss Texan

    Ole Miss Texan Hall of Fame

    May 8, 2006
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    Great find! I found this particularly interesting. Joseph has been phenomenal here so far, in my opinion. Look for Jason Allen to get severely picked on again. :(
  3. Texan_Bill

    Texan_Bill Subscribed Contributor

    Jun 15, 2003
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    Houston. Mediocrity Lives Here!!
  4. Surreal McCoy

    Surreal McCoy All Pro

    Nov 22, 2010
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    I am happy to read PFFs thoughts on games but I severely dislike their approach - in caching their previews/reviews through their distinctly subjective rating system. It's "science-ish" and not very helpful. Additionally, you can tell from their write-ups they're not too familiar with the Texans. Then again, who can expect a bunch of Englishmen to be into our team at this stage?
  5. thunderkyss

    thunderkyss MVP

    Sep 19, 2005
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    This is good stuff, real comparisons that actually mean something.

    Thanks for posting.
  6. mridge01

    mridge01 All Pro

    Sep 4, 2007
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    "Many are tipping this game as one with a potential rematch in January,"

    Really, this is the first I've heard this. Texans need to make the playoffs first, which will NOT happen.

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