NFL 2019 (Week 11): Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

Russell S. Baxter

NFL 2019 (Week 11): Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

By Pete Fasulo

Special to Pro Football Guru

This Week 11 match-up pits two young phenom quarterbacks that have thus far led their teams to the top of their respective divisions. The Ravens have won five games in a row and sit atop the AFC North, while the Texans have taken four out of their last five and are currently perched at the top of the AFC South. This should be a very good game between Houston’s Deshaun Watson and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson.

Texans: Since being held to just 10 points in Week 4, the Texans have exploded offensively over the past five games. Houston has averaged 32 points per game over that stretch. Much of this is due to quarterback Watson, who has completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 2432 yards this season. He has thrown for 18 touchdowns this season with only five interceptions. As if that was not enough, the Houston running game has been strong as well. Carlos Hyde has amassed 704 yards and three touchdowns, Duke Johnson has run for 287 yards and a touchdown and Watson has carried the ball for 279 yards and five scores. They have averaged five yards per carry as a team. Defensively, the Texans have been admirable even after the loss of J.J. Watt. Led by Whitney Mercilus, Bernardrick McKinney and Johnathan Joseph, the Houston defense has played well, allowing just 20.1 points per game the past eight contests.

Ravens: Baltimore, known for years for relying on their stout and hard-hitting defense, are suddenly putting up points behind an unleashed quarterback that can gain yardage both on the ground and through the air. Lamar Jackson has completed 65.9 percent of his passes this season for 2,036 yards. He has thrown for 15 touchdowns and only five interceptions. When running with the ball Jackson has gained 702 yards and six touchdowns. Add in the fact that running back Mark Ingram has totaled 619 yards on the ground and you have the makings of a solid offense that has scored an average of 33.3 points per game this season. On the other side of the ball, Baltimore has given up only 17.8 points per game over the past five contests. Defensive backs Earl Thomas (who is having a bounce back season), newly-acquired Marcus Peters and fellow cornerback Marlon Humphrey lead a solid defense that may give Watson fits in this game.

Prediction: Expect this game to be a back-and-forth battle with both signal-callers mixing their running and passing abilities to befuddle the opposing defenses. In the long run, expect the Texans to be just a touch better behind a run game that Baltimore will not be able to stop. This game could turn out to be “the battle for the bye” as the winner of this tilt will have the advantage in securing the week off during the Wild Card round of the playoffs. There is still a lot of football to be played, but this game could determine quite a bit towards the AFC playoff seeding.

Houston Texans 26, Baltimore Ravens 24

Pete Fasulo (@LISportsFans) is a freelance writer covering business, music, and sports. He has written for music publications such as Revolver and Aural Fix. His sports writing career has been resurrected here after numerous years at The Torch and The Long Island Tribune (many moons ago).

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