Get your rest Saturday night and prepare to be entertained as Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans (6-3) travel to M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, 17 November 2019 to face-off against fellow MVP hopeful Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens (7-2) in an early afternoon AFC showdown.
There will be plenty on the line, with an AFC playoff bye week potentially at stake, as well as a clear edge in the MVP race for either Jackson or Watson. Regardless of the outcome, the spectators tuning in will be the real winners. This isn’t the first time the two electric signal-callers have clashed, and if this meeting is anything like their battles as ACC opponents in college, football fans are in for a real treat. At the university level Watson led Clemson to a win in their last meeting, while Jackson snagged the Heisman as the big man on campus for Louisville. Collegiate trophies aside, both Jackson and Watson have now led their teams to the top of their respective divisions, and are prepared to provide viewers with a spectacle of epic proportions.
Here are some interesting tidbits entering Sunday’s contest:
- Lets go streaking! Baltimore is riding a five game win-streak, taking down the Seahawks and Patriots in the process
- Houston put up its 3rd two game win-streak on the season when they beat Jacksonville in London, meaning they have yet to lose back to back games
- Deshaun Watson has 5 top-five fantasy finishes in 9 games
- Watson has not had 2 consecutive games where he finishes outside of the top five fantasy QBs all season
- Carlos Hyde, Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram are currently 10th, 11th, and 12th in rushing yards in the NFL entering week 11
- Hyde has 3 rushing TDs on the year; Watson has 5
- Lamar Jackson has 7 top-six fantasy finishes in 9 games
- 108.0 fantasy points have come via the ground for Jackson; He is his team’s leading rusher at 702 yards & 6 TDs
- Carlos Hyde leads the Texans rush attack with 149 carries for 704 and 3 TDs with a 4.7 YPC avg on the season; He rushed for 160 vs Jacksonville in his last game
- Mark Ingram has a whopping 8 rushing touchdowns and has rushed 123 times for 619 yards
- Houston is coming off a bye week and has had an extra week to prepare for Baltimore, they expect to get back several key pieces on both sides of the ball
- Baltimore leads the NFL in team rushing yards per game at 197.2, while Houston is in 4th with 142.8
- Houston has the 3rd best rushing defense in the league, holding the opposition to 84.1 yards per game and 76.3 over their last 3
- Baltimore has the 9th best rushing defense, allowing 91.2 yards per contest
- Watson has completed 212 passes in 302 attempts for 2432, 18 touchdowns, 5 interceptions with a QBR of 107.1.
- Jackson connected 168 passes on 255 attempts for 2036, 15 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and a QBR of 101.7.
- Baltimore’s leading receiver is tight end Mark Andrews 44/523/5
- Darren Fells has 6 scores on the season for Houston, tied for the league lead at the tight end position with Atlanta’s Austin Hooper
- Houston’s leading receiver is Deandre Hopkins 68/665/4
- Houston allows 361.4 total yards a game / Baltimore surrenders 344.1
- Houston is bottom 4 (29th) in pass defense allowing 277 yards per game and an avg of 296 over the last 3
- Lamar Jackson ranks 20th in the NFL in passing
- Baltimore ranks 20th in pass defense, giving up 252.9 but have allowed an avg of only 219.7 over their previous 3 games
- Deshaun Watson ranks 12th in the NFL in passing
Tale of the Tape
Houston and Baltimore match up extremely well. These statistical comparisons on the chart below show just how similar the teams are offensively, despite the Ravens tendencies to lean on the run and the Texans choosing to pass just a bit more often. Regardless, both teams are fairly balanced with their offensive play calling.
Offensive Stat Comparison
|Yards Per Play||6.1||6.3|
|Rush Play %||44.12%||53.05%|
|Pass Play %||55.88%||46.95%|
|3Down Conv %||46.85%||48.60%|
|RedZone Scoring %||65.71%||65.71%|
One of the bigger differences between the teams comes on the defensive side of the ball. Baltimore has been a well-oiled machine as of late, stomping the Seahawks on the road to the tune of 30-16 and then dethroning the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in a convincing 37-20 home thrashing. The Ravens defense held both of those offenses to a combined 36 points and then proceeded to clamp down on the Bengals in a 49-13 road win last week. In fact, neither Russell Wilson nor Tom Brady threw for multiple touchdowns, and no one other than Patrick Mahomes has accomplished that feat against the Ravens this year.
Defensive Stat Comparison
|Opp Yards Per Play||5.8||5.8|
|Opp Completion %||65.54%||59.63%|
|Opp 3Down Conv %||44.83%||42.59%|
|Opp RedZone Scoring %||66.67%||48.39%|
Secondary Second to All
The Texans true weakness is against the pass as they allow 41.5 PPR points per game to receivers. They have stockpiled a multitude of injuries in the secondary over the course of the season. The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time as the team hopes to have Tashaun Gipson back to shut down opposing tight ends, but even with Bradley Roby and Lonnie Johnson set to return to the active roster as corners, they wouldn’t be considered starters on most other teams. Houston waived Briean Boddy-Calhoun and claimed former Tampa Bay Buc’s 1st-round pick Vernon Hargreaves from waivers, hoping that a new start on a new team can encourage better play. The Texans also acquired Gareon Conley a few weeks ago from the Oakland Raiders in an attempt to bolster a depleted secondary that lost Phillip Gains to the IR just a day before Conley was traded. The change of scenery has paid off for Conley as he immediately filled a starting spot against his former team and had a key pass break up to help seal the win. Despite leaking points through the air, the Texans were able to turn it around two weeks ago, intercepting Jag’s rookie QB in London twice to essentially end “Minshew Mania”.
Friday Injury Report:
Questionable: Brown, Moore
Out: WR Will Fuller and CB Bradley Roby
Questionable: S Tashaun Gipson and OT Laremy Tunsil
This game has 50.0 point implied total and line favors BAL at home by 4
Miles also hosts the Fantasy Football Flex On ‘Em Podcast which airs once a week
Follow him @ff_peacock on twitter for more