Page added on December 13, 2010
In this week 14 Monday night matchup between Houston and Baltimore it is suspected to be
a close and even match up. The betting lines opened up at 3 and have remained solid
through out the week with the over under opening at 45 1/2 and moving to 46.
Just one week after Baltimore was bumped out of first place in the AFC North with a 13-10 loss to Pittsburgh, they will have to travel to Houston to face a good offense in the Texans. Their defense did its part and held the Steelers to 288 yards, but it did cost some defensive players. Jameel McClain was fined $40,000 and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata $15,000 for hits on Heath Miller and Ben Roethlisberger.
The offense once again was lacking. Baltimore put together a late drive in the fourth quarter when Joe Flacco was sacked and fumbled, setting up the go-ahead Steelers touchdown. The week after their 17-10 win over Tampa Bay, Baltimore finished with 269 yards which is their second-lowest total of the season thus far.
Baltimore will have to improve their running game to come out with a win. They ran for a season-low 43 yards against the Steelers after recording 92 against Tampa Bay. That was the first time all season they have been held under 100 yards in two consecutive games. With the return of fullback Le’Ron McClain from a sprained ankle they are hoping that he will provide more protection for Flacco as well as help opening holes for their running game. Last Sunday, Flacco was sacked four times and completed 51.5 percent of his passes, his second-worst percentage of the season. Even with his struggles of late Flacco who began the week with the fifth-best passer rating in the NFL since November with 105.4 he has a chance to put up big numbers against a struggling Texans team who is 5-7.
Houston is 5-6 with its only win coming against a Tennessee team that is falling apart at the seams. They are coming off a 34-27 loss at Philadelphia last Thursday. Houston, which led 24-20 going into the fourth quarter, allowed 301 passing yards and 416 yards in the game. The Texans defense has struggled giving up more than 400 yards in three of the last four games and ranks 29th overall in yards per game with 388.8, the Texans are still in the playoff race in the AFC South, and has games left against their rivals Tennessee and Jacksonville.
It is seen that Houston’s defense needs to improve if they want to make another late-season run and make the playoffs for the first time. Their last four losses have been by an average of 605 points and all came after the team entered the fourth quarter with a lead. The past is not looking good for the Texans though with Baltimore coming out on top in all three of their meetings, including 41-13 in 2008.
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