The Houston Texans are one of eight undefeated teams in the NFL. The defending AFC South champions, though, have been anything but dominant on their way to a 0-2 record.
Both of the Texans victories have come down to the final play of the game. On Monday Night Football in Week 1, Houston made a franchise-record 21-point comeback against the San Diego Chargers, hitting a field goal as time expired. Last Sunday, an Arian Foster touchdown run with less than two minutes remaining in regulation forced overtime against the Tennessee Titans. Rookie DeAndre Hopkins made the game-winning touchdown catch in the extra period.
In Week 3, however, they might not find it as easy to storm back from a late deficit. They are scheduled to play the Baltimore Ravens. CBS will have coverage of the contest at 1 p.m. ET. Fans who don’t get the game on TV can watch a live stream online with a subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
The defending Super Bowl champs have had their own struggles in 2013. In the season opener, they were blown out by the Denver Broncos on national television, giving up seven touchdown passes to Peyton Manning. In Week 2, they beat the Cleveland Browns in a game that was decided by one score.
The winner could rely heavily on the health of each team’s offensive weapons. Both Andre Johnson and Ray Rice are battling injuries that they suffered last week late in their games. Johnson got a concussion after a hit from Bernard Pollard. Rice has a left hip flexor strain.
Johnson practiced in pads on Thursday and should be good to go. If he’s not as effective as usual, Hopkins has shown through two games that he has the ability to pick up the slack. He’s made 12 catches for 183 yards in his first season.
The status of Rice seems to be more uncertain. He missed practice all week and, even if he plays, may not be able to produce like he can when healthy. Backup Bernard Pierce is prepared to get a bulk of the carries. He had 19 carries for 57 yards against the Browns.
Even though they are playing at home, where they’ve gone 22-3 since 2010, the Ravens are underdogs. Most Las Vegas casinos have made the Texans one point favorites.
Betting Line: Houston-1, 45
Prediction: After signing his big contract in the offseason, Joe Flacco has failed to play like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. If he doesn’t have a healthy Rice, it will be even more difficult for the Ravens to move the ball. However, the Texans have struggled against mediocre competition, and their luck could finally catch up with them in a hostile environment.
Final Predicted Score: Baltimore 24, Houston 20