Houston Texans will benefit from crucial Ravens inactive in AFC Divisional Round

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

Advancing to the Super Bowl is an achievable goal for DeMeco Ryans’ team. His players and staff continue to work diligently through the 2023 NFL Playoffs. Their hard work is paying off, but there is still a long way to go. A showdown in the Divisional Round against the first-seeded Baltimore Ravens is the next challenge for a developing group.

The Houston Texans can withstand a four-quarter death match. They follow the lead of their rookie quarterback and rely on a stout defense to protect the end zone. Injuries will play a role in highly anticipated games. Lamar Jackson is an elite quarterback, but he will play without his Pro Bowl tight end.

How will the Houston Texans benefit from Mark Andrew’s absence?

Mark Andrews is an X-Factor for the Baltimore Ravens

Finding a reliable target requires patience and time in the NFL. Quarterbacks expect to lead franchises to successful seasons. Batman called on Robin to help him achieve success. Quarterbacks find the same value in tight ends. In 2018, the Ravens exchanged a third-round pick for a talented Oklahoma Sooner. An impressive collegiate career aligned Mark Andrews with a professional career. He was determined to take the most of it. Since then, the three-time Pro-Bowler has earned a reputation throughout the league. His abilities fit the scheme and are an asset for a lethal quarterback.

Lamar Jackson has developed a dynamic relationship with the six-foot-five utility man. He searches for Andrews in critical moments of games. Spectacular catches in clutch moments showed the developing quarterback that his tight end is dependable. He quickly became the new favorite target. Since 2018, Andrews has recorded 5,069 receiving yards and 401 receptions. His 40 touchdowns rank second in most touchdowns scored by a tight in the last six seasons.

An injury-riddled season limited production. Mark Andrews' absences led to his lowest receiving yard total (544). Andrew managed to average 12.1 yards per reception (45). He was effective when healthy, but hurt the team when he missed time.

Mark Andrews' absence is good news for the Houston Texans

An ankle injury has kept Mark Andrews on the sideline since Nov 16. He earned 23 yards before exiting a Week 11 match-up against the Cincinatti Bengals. The Ravens won the game but lost a vital part of their offense. Lamar Jackson stepped in and used other skill players to fill the void. A successful rushing attack (90.7) helped the Ravens persevere the rest of the season. Lamar Jackson finished as the leading rusher (821) for the fifth consecutive season. Gus Edwards (810) was eleven yards shy of dethroning the king of the Hill but still provided a valiant effort to close the campaign.

Developments in Jackson’s passing helped the veteran achieve success in the air. His five passing touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins in Week 17 put a stamp on an MVP-caliber season. Jackson finished the regular season with his career high in passing yards (3,678), yards per attempt (8.0) and completion percentage (67%). Mark Andrews was available to help the dual-threat quarterback thrive for more than half the season. Now, Jackson must win without him or join him at home.

The Houston Texans are underdogs against heading into the Divisional Round. They dismantled the Cleveland Browns on national television but must prove they belong in the post-season. Contributions from Will Anderson Jr. (82.5) and Blake Cashman (82.9) will help Houston keep their playoff journey alive. This post-season, Houston ranks first in coverage (85.9) and defensice ratings (82.5) They must take advantage of a wounded Ravens offense and eliminate Lamar Jackson. Mark Andrews' absence is an advantage for DeMeco Ryans. We expect him to utilize it for a consecutive playoff victory.

All statistics courtesy of pff.com