To kick off the second weekend of the NFL Playoffs, we have a matchup between the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens. The Texans are heading to Baltimore after a convincing win against the Cleveland Browns. C.J. Stroud continued his great rookie season against the Browns and made one of the best defenses in the league look bad.
This week, Stroud will be facing a fresh Baltimore Ravens team, which is also a very good defense. The Ravens, the No.1 seed in the AFC will be looking to avoid the letdown against the Texans and move on to the AFC Championship Game.
With this being a fun matchup on paper with a lot of talent on both sides, here are three bold predictions for the game.
Defense slows down Stroud
In one of the most impressive showings for a rookie quarterback in the history of the playoffs, C.J. Stroud was able to tear apart a talented Browns’ defense. In the win, Stroud totaled 274 passing yards and three passing touchdowns.
While Stroud was able to have a big game against the Browns, he will be challenged yet again, this time on the road. This season, Stroud has been much better at home than on the road, and playing in Baltimore will not be an easy task.
With the Ravens’ defense being fresh coming off the bye week, they should be very prepared for Stroud.
Prediction: Stroud totals under 250 passing yards.
After some contract disputes over the last few years, Lamar Jackson has looked every bit like an elite quarterback this season. Between running and throwing the football, Jackson could very well be the MVP once again this season and has been a big reason why the Ravens have the best record in the AFC.
Against the Houston Texans, Jackson will be matched up against a team that has struggled against the pass this season, and that poses an opportunity for a big game at home. Jackson is averaging about 50 yards per game more as a passer at home than he is on the road, which is a massive difference. Due to the matchup being a favorable one for him, and Jackson coming off two straight games at home being over 300 passing yards, expect a big game.
Prediction: Jackson throws for 300 passing yards.
The Ravens cruise to a win
Even though it has been a great season for the Texans in their first year with C.J. Stroud, they likely didn’t think they would be in the second round of the playoffs this season. Luckily, the rebuild has occurred much quicker than expected, but they are playing a team that has Super Bowl aspirations. The Ravens come into this game balanced on both sides of the ball and have some impressive wins on their resume this season. Being at home and taking the Texans out of their dome will be key.
With the Ravens being a strong team at home this season, and the Texans showing some weaknesses on the road, expect the Ravens to cover the 9.5 spread and then some in this game.
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