Baltimore Ravens Vs. Houston Texans 10/16/11 Mike’s Free NFL Pick Against the Spread Free Football Picks
With three convincing victories in four games, the Baltimore Ravens have been one of the most dominant teams in the NFL in this young season. Sunday may be win number four when the talented but battered Houston Texans come to town.
Houston got a double dose of pain last week against Oakland. They took the loss at home when Matt Schaub gift-wrapped an interception to Michael Huff as time expired. Down 25-20 with 1:50 left, Schaub led the Texans down to the Raider 5 yard line and spiked the ball in time for one final play. Then veteran QB paid a visit had a brain fart (or two) and missed an opportunity to run for the touchdown, instead lobbing one right to the Oakland defender.
The Texans remained a first place tie with the Titans with a 3-2 record. The other big blow came not in the standings, but on the injury report. Linebacker Mario Williams is reportedly being shelved for the rest of the season after tearing his pectoral muscle. Williams was the team’s best pass rusher with five sacks. Fellow Pro-Bowler Andre Johnson missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury and is likely out this Sunday as well, leaving big holes on both sides of the ball.
Meanwhile, Baltimore got the week off after dismantling the Jets in one of the most unusual games you will ever see. The core of Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs has the Ravens defense flying high as always. This despite the fact that Ngata is the only one who is still in his prime (though Suggs is still 29). They have allowed a league-low 14.2 points per game and also lead the league in point differential.
On the other side of the ball, Ray Rice has picked it up from last year and Ricky Williams has made the most of his opportunities as his back-up running back. The weak cog has actually been quarterback Joe Flacco, who was victorious last week only because he was less atrocious than Mark Sanchez. Flacco has a sub-50% completion rate in a season in which offense has dominated the league.
The offense will have to step it up if Houston moves the ball the way its capable of moving it. The Texans leaned heavily last week on Arian Foster and their tight ends and they will likely need the same without their star wide-out. Foster especially will have to come up big against what is traditionally a very tough run defense. This will be an uphill battle in Baltimore against a healthier, rested team. Unless Flacco coughs it up in key spots or Foster has a monster day, the Ravens have a clear edge here. Last week was a great example why its hard to trust Houston (Schaub). Baltimore's offense is good, but not that explosive. That is why it is a little tempting to take the Texans and the points. However, if the Ravens get ahead early I can see this getting ugly. I trust Baltimore more and will lay the points at home.