By Edward Lee
12:33 PM EST, January 9, 2012
The Houston Texans’ 31-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday earned Houston a divisional round date with the Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
During ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” program, the network’s plethora of analysts provided their perspectives on the upcoming contest.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Merrill Hoge said Houston’s best strategy involves controlling the ball and time of possession via the offense’s running attack of Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
“If they can run the football, they control the game,” Hoge said. “… They’ve got to neutralize Ray Rice. If they do that, and they keep [rookie quarterback T.J.] Yates in those controllable, manageable situations, he complements it well.”
Speaking of Yates, former Denver Broncos linebacker Tom Jackson said there will be a lot of pressure on the young passer to avoid critical errors and poor decisions.
“I just wonder if T.J. Yates can maintain his ability to not make mistakes,” Jackson said. “If they don’t turn the ball over, they could go a long way.”
Former New York Jets wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson pointed out that the Texans will have the services of wide receiver Andre Johnson, who sat out the teams’ first meeting on Oct. 16 due to a strained hamstring.
“Andre Johnson will have an opportunity to be healthy and take advantage of that weak secondary in Baltimore,” Johnson said. “If they can find him the same way they found him yesterday, then they have an opportunity and a chance to win this game.”
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