When the AFC's only two winning teams play Sunday afternoon at Houston's Reliant Stadium, the winner will improve to 6-1 and become the clear front runner in a conference presently marred by mediocrity.
It's tough to look at the Baltimore defense and not see that the Ravens are starting four former undrafted free agents and that a trio of recent second-round draft picks is coming off the bench. Jimmy Smith, a 2011 first-round pick, will become a starter Sunday because cornerback Lardarius Webb suffered a season-ending knee injury. They smartly nabbed their other starting cornerback, Cary Williams, off the Tennessee Titans practice squad. Of the 14 defensive players they drafted from 2007 to 2011, only two are starters and six are no longer with the team.
Every morning, Monday through Friday, blogger Matt Vensel will hook you up with reading material -- mostly on the Ravens but with some other Baltimore sports stuff, too -- to skim through as you slug down coffee and slack off at the start of your workday. That way he'll have an excuse to do the same to start his workday, too.
Now that starting cornerback Lardarius Webb has been placed on injured reserve with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the Ravens will need Smith to duplicate the speed and technique he has displayed at times this season
The Ravens' NFL-best home winning streak survived the Dallas Cowboys, but just barely. The result was the Ravens' 31-29 victory in front of an announced 71,384 today at M&T Bank Stadium. Ray Rice scored two touchdowns and Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown.
The numbers look odd and reversed — even after just four weeks. The Ravens don't normally give up nearly 400 yards of total offense and 300 passing yards per game, and they certainly don't rank in the top five in the NFL in overall yards, passing yards and total points per game.
Every Tuesday, Baltimore Sun blogger Matt Vensel breaks down a critical play, sometimes with input from Baltimore Ravens players, from that week's game. Today, he looks at the fourth-quarter sack of Tom Brady that preceded the team's game-winning drive.
Instead of essentially abandoning the running game like they did a week ago during the second half of a 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Ravens found a way to make Ray Rice a vital part of the offense on Sunday night.