They’ll look to escape their recent playoff woes that have kept them away from the conference title game for their last five postseason appearances.
Without question, the pressure will be placed on the now six-year starting quarterback out of Louisville. That comes with the territory of any NFL starting quarterback, especially Jackson, considering the offseason that transpired with him and the Ravens.
Ravens’ lethal pass rush is the x-factor against the Texans
If it’s not the Ravens’ top-10 total offense that the Texans should worry about, it’s their top-10 total defense. Specifically, it’s the Ravens’ pass rush that could be the x-factor for the Texans’ offensive line.
The Texans’ offensive line was one of their weaker units of the 2023 season, which allowed their rookie quarterback to get sacked 38 times, ranking eighth most in the league.
Surprisingly, the Texans’ offensive line held up nicely against the Cleveland Browns last weekend in their Wild Card matchup, where Stroud wasn’t sacked once and only took one quarterback hit. This weekend could be a different story, or at least similar to the one that occurred during Week 1.
When the Ravens and Texans met back in Week 1, it was Stroud making his first career start, where he didn’t account for a single touchdown.
Baltimore was able to get pressure on him that day, welcoming him to the league with five sacks and 10 quarterback hits.
Again, that’s all because of the Ravens’ exceptional pass rush. The biggest issue with going up against the Ravens is that they have had 10 guys on their current roster than have rushed the passer 100 or more times this season, earning a pass-rushing grade of 70.0 or better, according to PFF.
More importantly, they have a triple-threat edge rushing attack from Jadeveon Clowney, Odafe Oweh, and Kyle Van Noy, who have a combined 170 pressures this season and 24 total sacks.
Clowney, 30, and Van Noy, 32, alone have been huge surprises for the Ravens this season, earning some of the highest gradings in their career. But there’s also been four-year defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, who was top-10 in the league in sacks (13), while also accruing 33 hurries, 17 quarterback hits, and 64 total pressures.
If you’re looking for the x-factor for the Ravens in determining the game against the Texans, you truly have to look no further than their pass rush, which will be paramount in stopping a red-hot Stroud that is much improved since their last meeting.