3 things the Houston Texans have to do to defeat the Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens are on deck for the Houston Texans but how can the upstart Texans get the win?
Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens
Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans are going to collide in a few hours for a seat in the AFC Championship game. The Texans, a young, upstart squad with a potential top quarterback leading the way, are going to have a tough time against the Ravens. The Ravens are a tough squad that are well coached and are efficient on both sides of the ball.

This is going to be very much the final boss version of the Texans and last week's game against the Cleveland Browns. This is the Browns, but healthy. So the Texans are rightful underdogs this week.

But that doesn't mean the Texans can't win. On the contrary, they can. It all comes down to following three very simple ideas, that are obvious but not easy to execute.

1. Protect C.J. Stroud

The Houston Texans are going to have to keep C.J. Stroud clean. That's the number one way to lose this game, is if Stroud is on his back all day looking up at the clouds. Stroud's not the only way the Texans can win this game, but the Ravens are notorious for killing teams on offense by just abusing defenses with their running game. They take gobs of time off the clock and force defenses to rotate guys in and out a lot.

The counter to this is quick strikes when given the chance. Stroud has the ability to drop bombs from deep, and the Texans will need that in order to win this game. They can't get deep passes from Stroud, however, if the Ravens are constantly on top of him.

2. Force Lamar Jackson to throw deep

While the narrative around Lamar Jackson is that he's "better" at throwing the ball, in reality, he isn't. He's not a good passer. He's fine, there are certainly worse quarterbacks in the league, but Jackson isn't known for his consistent pinpoint accuracy. He can hit those highlight reel passes every now and then, but so could Tommy Devito. Jackson isn't Patrick Mahomes. That's not his game. Jackson does well creating space, making defenses bite on him and throwing to a usually open guy. What Jackson does is not easy to replicate, and not everyone can play like him, but his style comes with limitations.

There's a reason why Jackson has only had one wide receiver with 1,000 yards since he entered the league. Cut off the underneath routes, have one or two players spy on Jackson to help keep him from taking off, and force him to beat you with his arm. Historically, that is not the way Jackson wins games.

3. Keep the Ravens off the field

Realistically, the best way to beat the Ravens is by playing their type of football. Get the ball first and grind out the clock. The Ravens take so much time off the clock, it's absurd, but if the Texans can match that type of play, and excel at it, then it forces the Ravens to play faster, something they haven't done well with in this era. All the Texans need to do is take seven or eight minutes off the clock on touchdown drives, get a stop, and repeat it, and all of a sudden it's the two-minute warning and the Ravens are down 14-0. It's easier said than done, but it's the best way to go about beating this very well-coached team.

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