Tough test upcoming for rookie Osemele and rest of Ravens offensive line

OWINGS MILLS - Once again, New Orleans Saints right tackle Zach Strief proved to be no match for Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston.

Houston had already beaten Strief for two sacks earlier in the game. And with Houston's Chiefs trailing by five midway through the fourth quarter, the outside linebacker got the best of Strief yet again, disengaging from the right tackle to bring down New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees for a safety.

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Houston, a 2011 third-round pick of Kansas City, leads the Chiefs with four sacks. Three of them came against Strief and the Saints in Week 3.

Kansas City's starting left outside linebacker, Houston will be lined up primarily across from Baltimore Ravens rookie right tackle Kelechi Osemele during Sunday's matchup with the Ravens.

"He's a great player," Osemele said. "He's explosive off the ball and just a phenomenal effort guy with a really high motor. He has a really quick burst off the edge. ... He has both power and speed, but I would definitely say he's a speed guy and the fastest guy on their front [seven]."

Osemele will also have to contend with outside linebacker Tamba Hali, a two-time Pro Bowler.

Hali is off to a slow start this year - he has just one sack in the three games he's played in - but had 12 sacks and four forced fumbles last season.

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Hali has 54.5 sacks and 22 forced fumbles during his seven-year NFL career.

"For the most part, [Houston's] on my side," Osemele said. "But him and Hali switch around quite a bit. In passing situations, you might see Hali on my side, third downs and stuff like that. Mostly it will be [Houston] on my side, but they do like to switch it up every now and then."

Osemele and the Ravens allowed just five sacks through their first three games, but surrendered four during last week's win against the Cleveland Browns.

Even with just one sack from Hali, the Chiefs have eight sacks this season.

And despite the limited production from Hali through the early part of the year, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh still referred to him as one of the league's "premier pass rushers."

"They've got two tremendous pass rushers," Harbaugh said.

"They are just both fast, speed edge rushers," Harbaugh added. "They are both explosive, athletic guys. They're more explosive-, athletic-type rushers, more than power rushers, but they have power, too. They are just good players."

Ravens left tackle Michael Oher said facing the combination of Houston and Hali will be "a good test" for Baltimore's offensive line.

"They can just do a lot of different things, and they have a knack for getting to the quarterback," Oher said. "[They have] a Pro Bowler [Hali] and [another] a guy who's coming on and turning into a pretty good player."

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