Houston Texans at Ravens: 2017 Week 12: Three things to watch

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 26: Outside Linebacker Terrell Suggs
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 26: Outside Linebacker Terrell Suggs /

The Houston Texans will take their 4-6 record to Charm City and hope that they can make an impression of their solid 31-21 win last week over the Arizona Cardinals.  Here are three things to watch ahead of our match up against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Houston Texans have been hard to watch as of late but based off the performance the team had in second half last week, it’s quite possible that this team can muster enough guff to make us feel proud on national television this week on Monday Night Football.  Both us and the Ravens are hovering over the .500 mark, wondering what exactly will be the fate of our respective seasons.

Because of how things are shaking out in the AFC, the Ravens would make it in as a Wild Card if the playoffs started today.  So, believe me, despite what we’ve seen so far, this team still has a shot at making something for the season.  There’s nothing like playing for something other than pride to make the journey itself worthwhile.  This will be a solid, defensive performance on both ends so if there’s anything worth watching, that will be.


1.)  How long will Tom Savage hold onto the ball?

One of Tom Savage‘s worst kept secrets is his tendency to hold onto the football way too long after the snap.  In today’s NFL, the success of the quarterback is predicated on ensuring that the ball is moved quickly or else they’ll face fierce resistance from defensive players that are faster, strong and better than ever.

Since his start in Week 9, Tom has gradually improved his time to throw while in the pocket.  Here’s his numbers:  Week 9 (2.71 seconds), Week 10 (2.44 seconds) and Week 11(2.46 seconds).  Where he’s at right now may actually be fine but he can certainly work improve more on that time.  If he reverts back to his old ways, he’ll give exactly what the Ravens want.

You better believe that Terrell Suggs, Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, Carl Davis and emerging talent Matthew Judon will be there to make sure Savage is on his back.  Amazingly, Savage has just 13 sacks taken on the season, 6th-fewest among active starting QBs.

2.)  Give me some of that DeAndre Hopkins vs. Jimmy Smith match up!

To say that DeAndre Hopkins was on track to have an astronomical year for stats is an understatement but with Deshaun Watson on the shelf for the remainder of the season, it’s going to be tougher for Savage to get the ball to him on a regular basis.

Regardless, Hopkins has hauled in some terrific winners from Savage, even though they may have not been the best of passes.  But that’s what he does — winning out with pure athleticism.  Jimmy Smith will likely be tasked with guarding him and he’s had a spectacular year thus far with his coverage.

There will be push-offs, trash talk and even some penalties called but that’s the nature of this game that I like.  Hopkins has caught 62 balls for 879 yards and nine touchdowns so far.  Smith

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has three picks, one defensive touchdown, nine passes defensed, one fumble recovery and a touchdown off that same recovery.

Both are injured at the moment with a foot and Achilles malady respectively but it’s expected that Hopkins will suit up but Smith’s status is more uncertain.  Even though this match up will be a bit marred because of this, it’s still one to keep an eye on.

3.)  Keep an eye on the heroics of the special teams unit.

The Houston Texans special teams unit has been up-and-down all year but has been on the upswing as of late.  It seems the days were we’d see bumble-after-bumble when it was their time up are over.  Whatever Larry Izzo has told them is finally getting through to their heads.

With this game likely being one that will be tightly-played defensively on both ends, it’ll be interesting to see how Ka’imi Fairbairn will perform in likely high-pressure situations as I do expect him to be busy on third downs.

He has missed a few field goals recently but has kicked his way back to on track.  Chris Thompson seems to be on the mend as he has practiced in full all week and he’ll take his 22.7 yards per kick return average to the bank for this offense.  Bruce Ellington was used on punt returns a bit and didn’t underwhelm so I’d expect to see him a lot more out there in that role.

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And there are your THREE THINGS to watch!  I’m hoping for a competitive game out there because it would be sweet if the Houston Texans could steal a statement win from the Ravens and at least be the talk of the town for a brief moment.

We’ll have to see — go Texans!