HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- Original Texans defensive lineman Seth Payne rewatched the Ravens’ 28-12 loss to the Tennessee Titans in last season’s AFC Divisional round.
If the Texans are going to have a chance against the Ravens, these are the keys to victory from a retired 10-year NFL veteran.
Win the short yardage situations.
In the Ravens’ loss to the Titans, the Ravens missed on two 4th-and-1 attempts, both Lamar Jackson rushing attempts, once when he took it in the shotgun, and once under center. The Titans’ defensive line did a good job there.
The Ravens are super aggressive. John Harbaugh leans on analytics and they’re going to go for it on 4th-and-1.
The defensive backs need to be awesome in run support.
Against the Ravens, especially the cornerbacks need to get involved. When Lamar Jackson is running a QB sweep, the cornerback has to get to the edge, force him back inside and, of course, tackle.
“I think when you are playing these offenses that are these RPO type of offenses that can hand the ball off or keep the ball or keep the ball and then throw the ball, they put linebackers, safeties and corners, all of them in a conflict,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said Friday. “That’s what is tough about these offenses. You have to play really disciplined defense and you have to get 11 guys to the ball. So, I think that’s a big key in the game.”
Pick up the blitz
For more than a decade, the Ravens have blitzed more than any team in the NFL.
The Texans’ offensive line struggled with pressure against the Chiefs, and last year, the Ravens sacked Deshaun Watson six times.
Build a lead early
It’s not that Lamar Jackson can’t play well while trailing, but he’s a different guy with that pressure of trying to overcome a deficit.
He started pressing in that playoff game against the Titans, turning the ball over twice. There’s an ill-advised pass, then another when he’s holding on to the play too long and gets stripped in the pocket.
Get a lead early, turn the heat up early and have them cough the ball up three times like they did against the Titans.
Texans defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver was adamant about the need for his group to go get the football and give the offense more chances to work.
Establish the run
It’s a matter of establishing long, sustained drives, not necessarily out of fearing Jackson. But Jackson at his best is executing drives that take forever.
So if you can get that lead early, establish the run, you limit the Ravens’ clock.
It’s encouraging that David Johnson performed well against the Chiefs, at times against a loaded box.