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Ravens vs. Texans scouting report for Week 2: Who has the edge?

The Houston Texans will always be a dangerous opponent with Deshaun Watson at quarterback, but Lamar Jackson and the Ravens hold advantages in most phases of the game as they look to push their record to 2-0.

RAVENS PASSING GAME: Quarterback Lamar Jackson couldn’t miss in a 38-6 season-opening win over the Cleveland Browns, completing 20 of 25 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. He made good on his promises to target the team’s wide receivers more regularly, completing five passes to Marquise Brown, four to Willie Snead IV and three to Miles Boykin. Tight end Mark Andrews caught five passes on six targets for 58 yards and two touchdowns and remains the No. 1 option on crucial downs. Jackson torched the Texans in a 41-7 blowout last season, completing 17 of 24 passes for 224 yards and four touchdowns. His chief protector, All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, did not practice Wednesday because of a hip injury.

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TEXANS PASSING GAME: Quarterback Deshaun Watson played below his standard in a 34-20 Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, completing 20 of 32 passes for 253 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked four times as the offensive line carried over its spotty performance from last season. On the bright side, wide receiver Will Fuller V excelled in his first game filling the void left by the traded DeAndre Hopkins, catching eight passes on 10 targets for 112 yards. Fuller did not play against the Ravens last season because of a hamstring injury. Watson struggled to one of his worst games as a pro in that loss to the Baltimore, taking six sacks and throwing an interception.

EDGE: Ravens

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RAVENS RUNNING GAME: The Ravens gained just 107 yards on 30 attempts against the Browns, a performance that would have ranked as the worst of their record-setting 2019 season. Jackson led the team with 45 yards on seven carries while running back Mark Ingram picked up 29 on just 10 carries. Rookie J.K. Dobbins was the more effective back, with two touchdowns on seven carries, but he averaged 3.1 yards per attempt. If these struggles continue, the Ravens will face questions about how much they miss retired Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda. Rookie Tyre Phillips received praise from coach John Harbaugh for holding up in his debut as Yanda’s replacement, but he graded as the third worst starting guard in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Center Matt Skura also faltered as a run blocker in his first game back from knee surgery. The Ravens dominated the Texans on the ground last season, rushing for 256 yards on 37 carries. Gus Edwards led the parade with 112 yards on just eight attempts, and Jackson added 79 on 10 attempts.

TEXANS RUNNING GAME: Running back David Johnson played well in his first game for Houston, gaining 77 yards on 11 carries. Johnson, who was acquired in the Hopkins trade, also poses a threat catching passes out of the backfield. Watson is the other runner to worry about, though the Texans use him sparingly in that capacity. He gained just 27 yards on six carries against the Chiefs after rushing for 413 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

EDGE: Ravens


RAVENS RUSH DEFENSE: The Ravens looked discombobulated on a first-quarter scoring drive by the Browns, surrendering a 29-yard run to Nick Chubb and a 22-yard run to Kareem Hunt. But they didn’t allow a run longer than 10 yards the rest of the game. Overall, they weren’t satisfied with allowing Cleveland to average 5.1 yards on 27 attempts. Rookie linebacker Patrick Queen led the Ravens with eight tackles and forced a fumble, but he received a below-average grade on his run defense from Pro Football Focus. Fellow linebacker L.J. Fort, who split time with Malik Harrison, played one of his best games as a Raven, with six tackles on just 24 defensive snaps. Edge defenders Pernell McPhee and Jihad Ward also provided solid support against the run.

TEXANS RUSH DEFENSE: Houston didn’t have many answers for Chiefs rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who ran for 138 yards on 25 carries in his debut. Linebackers Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney both struggled. Five-time All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt remains the best run stopper on Houston’s front seven. The Texans ranked 25th in run defense last season, allowing opponents to average 4.8 yards per carry.

EDGE: Ravens


RAVENS PASS DEFENSE: The Ravens confused Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield with well-designed coverages and blitzes, holding him to 189 passing yards on 21 of 39 passes. All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey picked up his first interception of the season off a deflection by defensive end Calais Campbell, who’d unexpectedly dropped into coverage. Humphrey and fellow All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters held Mayfield’s top deep target, Odell Beckham Jr., to three catches on 10 targets. The Browns pass catcher who hurt the Ravens most was tight end David Njoku with three catches on three targets for 50 yards.

TEXANS PASS DEFENSE: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes did what he wanted against Houston, completing 24 of 32 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns. Cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Vernon Hargreaves III struggled to keep up with Kansas City’s fleet receivers, and the Texans hit Mahomes just three times. Houston ranked 29th in pass defense last season, allowing opponents to average 6.9 yards per pass attempt. Watt was still the team’s best pass rusher when healthy.

EDGE: Ravens


RAVENS SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Justin Tucker made his only field-goal attempt in the opener after earning his third All-Pro selection in 2019. Sam Koch put two of his three punts inside the Browns' 20-yard line. In his debut as the team’s punt returner, James Proche II allowed one kick to roll by him to the Ravens' 1-yard line but averaged 13 yards on two subsequent runbacks. Fellow rookie Devin Duvernay impressed as the new kickoff returner, averaging 32 yards on two runbacks.

TEXANS SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed his only field-goal attempt, from 51 yards, against the Chiefs. Fairbairn made 20 of 25 field-goal attempts and missed five extra-point tries last season. Punter Bryan Anger ranked among the league’s best last season, averaging 44.5 net yards and putting 24 of his 45 kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. DeAndre Carter is back as the team’s return specialist after averaging 9.7 yards on punt returns and 22 yards on kickoff returns last season. The Texans ranked among the league’s elite in punt and kickoff coverage in 2019.

EDGE: Even

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RAVENS INTANGIBLES: The Ravens picked up where they left off last regular season with their casual demolition of the Browns. They routed the Texans in 2019 and are playing with the confidence that Jackson is always the best player on the field.

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TEXANS INTANGIBLES: Houston has made the playoffs four times in six seasons under coach Bill O’Brien. Watson can match any quarterback’s brilliance on his best days. The Texans had an extra three days to prepare for the Ravens and will play with urgency as they try to avoid an 0-2 start.

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EDGE: Ravens


PREDICTION: The Texans can’t be taken lightly as long as they have Watson creating something from nothing at the most important position on the field. But the Houston defense could not stop the Ravens last season and could not stop the Chiefs in Week 1. The Ravens need to improve their run blocking to operate at peak efficiency, but they simply have more ways to win on both sides of the ball. Ravens 37, Texans 24.

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