Thursday, January 12, 2012
The Houston Texans played very well beating the Bengals last week at Reliant Stadium, however a new challenge is on the horizon for them this week at M & T Bank Stadium. In the last match up versus the Ravens, running back Ray Rice had 161 yards from scrimmage and returning receiver Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 132 yards. The load for Rice should increase considering the flack the Ravens have taken this year for not involving him in games at times. Texans running back Arian Foster had 15 carries for 49 yards and the Texans were without receiver Andre Johnson. In my opinion these teams are very similar offensively. For the Texans stopping Foster, Johnson and Daniels are key and for the Ravens stopping Rice, Boldin, and Smith are very key.
The Texans allowing 96.0 rushing yards per game are just below the Ravens defense which allowed 92.6 rushing yards per game. For both teams stopping the run is first and foremost which allows offenses to be one dimensional and the defenses are able to take advantage with their outstanding fronts. Which turns to a more important point, who is more trustworthy Joe Flacco or T.J. Yates. In the playoffs Flacco has thrown only four touchdowns with seven interceptions, T.J. Yates went 11 of 20 for 159 in his first ever playoff game last week. In their defense, every playoff game for Flacco has been on the road and for Yates you have a rookie quarterback going on the road to face the team that lead the AFC in sacks this season.
In saying that, it's going to come down to which quarterback plays better. Despite the many weapons for both teams, the outstanding rushing attacks, the guy under center is the key to this game. T.J. Yates has done a very good job thus far managing games and has made the throws when needed. What I like most about Yates is his overall demeanor. Very confident, hardly appears rattled, and is able to make plays with his athleticism. Flacco when on is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Big arm, decisive, and accurate but at times looks very average if not below. This playoff run for Flacco is critical at this point in his career because everything is in his favor. Coming off of a bye week, playing at home where the Ravens have won 10 straight games and his passer rating is 96.1 in the last four games of the season.
Flacco and Yates will decide who gets the opportunity to move on to the AFC Divisional Championship game next week. To my earlier point, these two teams are the same, both defenses are great at pressure, good against the run and both offenses have big play capability and outstanding run games, which is why the guy under center will be the difference maker in this game.