Texans try for first win in divisional round, and first in Baltimore, when they face the Ravens

HOUSTON (11-7) at BALTIMORE (13-4)

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. EST, ESPN, ABC

OPENING LINE: Ravens by 8 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Texans 10-8; Ravens 11-6.

SERIES RECORD: Ravens lead 11-2.

LAST MEETING: Ravens beat Texans 25-9 on Sept. 10, 2023, in Baltimore.

LAST WEEK: Texans beat Browns 45-14; Ravens had bye, lost 17-10 to Steelers on Jan. 6.





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Texans plus-10; Ravens plus-12.

TEXANS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB C.J. Stroud has 4,382 yards passing this season and needs 281 Saturday to pass Andrew Luck (4,662) for most yards passing by a rookie, including the postseason, in NFL history. Stroud was 16 of 21 for 274 yards and three touchdowns last week for a 157.2 passer rating, which is the highest by a rookie in a playoff game.

RAVENS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Dalvin Cook was signed off the practice squad to the 53-man roster this week and is expected to make his Ravens debut in this game. Cook played 15 games for the New York Jets this season before joining up with Baltimore. He can give the Ravens a change of pace while teaming up with Gus Edwards out of the backfield.

KEY MATCHUP: Stroud vs. Baltimore's pass rush. The Ravens led the league in sacks and had five in their first meeting with Houston. The Texans come into this game with a potent passing game, but protecting the quarterback is a key to getting it off the ground.

KEY INJURIES: Texans WR Noah Brown went on injured reserve Monday after hurting his shoulder in Saturday’s game. … Houston DEs Will Anderson and Jonathan Greenard both missed practice this week with lingering ankle injures but should play this weekend. … Texans DE Jerry Hughes (ankle) will miss a second straight game. ... Baltimore TE Mark Andrews (ankle) is still on injured reserve but has been designated to return. He's questionable for this weekend. ... The Ravens will be without CB Marlon Humphrey (calf) and WR Tylan Wallace (knee).

SERIES NOTES: The Texans are winless in seven trips to Baltimore. ... The lone postseason meeting between these teams came during the 2011 season, when the Ravens beat Houston 20-13 in the divisional round. ... The teams met in this season's opener, which was also Stroud's NFL debut. He threw for 242 yards.

STATS AND STUFF: Houston is 0-4 in the divisional round. … The Texans are the fourth team in NFL history and first since 2009 to win a playoff game with a first-year head coach and rookie quarterback. … A win Saturday would make Houston's DeMeco Ryans the first rookie coach to advance to a conference championship game since Matt LeFleur did it in 2019 with Green Bay. … WR Nico Collins led the Texans with six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland. He has a TD reception in three of his past four games and had 80 yards receiving in his previous meeting with Baltimore. … WR John Metchie III, who missed all of last season undergoing treatment for leukemia, had a career-high 44 yards receiving last week. … Houston TE Dalton Schultz has had a TD reception in his past three playoff games. With a TD catch Saturday, he’d join Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce as the only TEs in NFL history with one in four straight postseason games. … Greenard led the team with a career-high 12 1/2 sacks in the regular season and had two tackles for loss and a sack against the Ravens in Week 1. … Anderson, the third overall pick in the 2023 draft, had a sack last week and had a sack in the previous meeting with Baltimore. … Last week, Houston LB Christian Harris and CB Steven Nelson became the first teammates in 16 years to return interceptions for TDs in a playoff game. ... The Ravens have won two Super Bowls, but have never hosted the AFC championship game. A win this week would give the city of Baltimore its first home AFC title game since the Colts beat the Oakland Raiders in January 1971. ... This is the second time the Ravens have earned the top seed in the conference. The other was in 2019, and they lost their postseason opener that season. ... Baltimore won a record 10 games against teams that finished the regular season with a winning record. ... Ravens opponents had a league-low 74.6 passer rating. ... All-Pro Lamar Jackson passed for a career-high 3,678 yards this season for Baltimore. He also led all QBs with 821 yards rushing. ... The Ravens finished atop the league in fewest points allowed, and they tied for first with 31 takeaways. ... Baltimore is 11-8 in road playoff games but just 3-4 at home. The most recent time the Ravens won a home postseason game was in January 2013 against Indianapolis.


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