September 9, 2023, 4:41 pm
Texans @ Ravens
Texans (-130) @ Ravens (+110): O/U 43.5
Texans +9.5 (+350), Ravens -9.5.(-450)
Let’s say this altogether now. TRAP GAME. There is all the evidence in the world when it comes to rookie QB’s vs. the spread in their first game. The rule is you fade the rookie every single time, but this is just too many points. The Ravens are doing a philosopical makeover and transitioning to a pass-first, air raid, let it fly aerial attack under new OC Todd Monken. This is a great idea and it will probably work marvelously, but they are going to need to crawl before they can fly. The Texans vs. the old Ravens ground-and-pound would be screwed as they finished 32nd vs. the run. You don’t like the Texans, I don’t like the Texans, nobody likes the Texans, but they really aren’t that bad and unless rookie QB CJ Stroud has a Chernobyl-style melt down, they should hang around in this game.
Main Storylines to Watch
Spread Raven: When the Ravens decide to do something, they usually do it pretty well. When they zagged to a rush-heavy approach while everyone was going pass-happy it sounded dumb until it wasn’t. The Ravens have three legit WR threats and the second -best TE in the league (assuming Mark Andrews plays). The beauty of this new strategy is that while it will not only stretch the field to create more space for the weapons to operate, it’s really going to give Lamar Jackson a whole new perspective to carve teams up when he decides to take-off. At some point this season, Jackson is going to throw for 400 yards in a game and the Ravens are going to a instill fear in every defensive coordinator around the league That game isn’t going to be this week because the Texans have a solid secondary and it takes time to learn a new offense. While the Ravens want to let it rip, they aren’t fools and it would foolish not to stick with J.K Dobbins on the ground.
Good Offense or Bad Defense: The Ravens defense was ferocious last season, finishing as a top-five unit against the run. The secondary needs some work and that was when Marlon Humphrey was healthy. Right now with Humphries sidelined, it’s possible they have the worst secondary in the league and while the Texans don’t have a vast array of weapons, it might not take a lot to move the chains in the air. There hasn’t been a lot of talk about Stroud in the preseason and with Brandin Cooks seeking greener pastures, someone will have to step up and catch some balls.
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