Oct 14, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph (24) runs on the field against the Green Bay Packers during the first quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Packers won 42-24. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

Non-Texan Take: Week 7 vs. Baltimore Ravens

Coming off their first loss of the season, the Houston Texans (5-1) will host the Baltimore Ravens (5-1) at Reliant Stadium for an early game (noon CST). The winner will hold the best record in the AFC, though the Ravens are playing shorthanded. This past week, the Ravens lost future Hall of Fame middle linebacker Ray Lewis (torn triceps) and standout cornerback Lardarius Webb (torn ACL) for the season. Here’s what to watch for:

Johnathan Joseph

Joseph was making an argument for being the best cornerback in the NFL through September. However, he’s been slowed by a groin injury the past two weeks, and it’s shown as Houston has struggled mightily against opposing #1 receivers. Gary Kubiak expects Joseph to play on Sunday, but if he does, it’s worth keeping an eye on him to see how healthy he looks.

Bobbie Williams vs. Houston’s Defensive Line

The Baltimore Ravens have been excellent at run blocking this season for Ray Rice, which has been a major reason for their success. But left guard Ramon Harewood has just lost his starting job to veteran Bobbie Williams. Williams appears recovered enough from his ankle injuries to replace Harewood, but isn’t a standout even when he’s 100%. See if Wade Phillips targets him.

Ed Reed

“Throw at me,” is what Reed said this week when asked about playing through a torn labrum in his shoulder. Expect Houston to do a bit of that on Sunday. Considered one of the best defenses in the league entering the season, and for about a decade, Baltimore has been average against both the run and pass this year. With the two major injuries last week, they appear even more vulnerable.

January 15, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed (20) following his interception in the closing minutes of the 2011 AFC divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans at M

Prediction

Two of the best teams in the NFL face off Sunday in a game certain to have playoff implications. Both are capable of lighting it up on offense, and both have a lot of talent on defense. But with both hurting in their stop unit, expect a high-scoring game. The Ravens are hurting more, so don’t expect Houston to lose back-to-back home games.

HOU 28, BAL 24

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