*Houston over Baltimore by 21
The record shows 5-1. But Baltimore isn’t scaring anyone. The Ravens have won four in a row. They’ve won those games by a combined 13 points, failing to cover the spread in all four games. They very well could be 3-3 instead, escaping with victories the past two weeks against Kansas City, 9-6, and Dallas, 31-29, at home. The Ravens’ once fierce defense has been gashed for 441 yards on the ground the last two Sundays. Now the Ravens are severely short-handed and facing the pre- mier running back, Arian Foster, who has a league-best eight touchdowns and is No. 2 in rushing with 561 yards. The Texans should be primed for a strong home effort after an embarrassing nationally televised home loss to Green Bay. The Texans draw a crippled Ravens team that is a mediocre 5-5 SU in its last 10 road contests. Already minus their best pass rusher, Terrell Suggs, the Ravens now face life without Lardarius Webb, their best defensive back, along with tackles leader and inspirational captain, 37-year-old Ray Lewis. In addition, Pro Bowl nose tack- le Haloti Ngata is hobbling on a bad knee. The Ravens can’t mix up their pass cov- erage’s nearly as well without Webb, nor cover the still dangerous Andre Johnson. The Texans are going to be able to pound the ball setting up steady Matt Schaub to pick his spots through the air. Baltimore’s pass rush has been largely non-exis- tent without Suggs’ edge rush. They were only able to get to Tony Romo once this past Sunday. Joe Flacco has a history of being far less effective on the road. His away numbers are way down again with a 50.7 percent completion rate and 209.5 yards per game through the air. He’ll constantly have to be looking over his shoul- der to keep track of NFL sacks leader J.J. Watt, who has 10.5. Baltimore is aver- aging just 16.7 points in its last nine road games. HOUSTON 38-17.
My Take——-Joe Flacco always rises to the occasion when his back is up against the wall. Rodgers proved you can beat the Houston secondary on the perimeter.