- Who: Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens
- When: Saturday, Jan 20 at 4:30PM ET
- Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
- How to watch: ABC/ESPN
Here. We. Go. The Number 1 seeds enter the fray and it’s the new AFC North Champions who kick things off in the Divisional Round.
Baltimore Ravens topped the strongest division in football and the AFC with a 13-4 record, the best in the NFL this season. Lamar Jackson, odds on to earn his second MVP award, has been in inspired form – with wins over the 49ers and a five-touchdown display against the Dolphins cementing his favoritism down the stretch.
The Quarterback’s playoff record is less envious, however. One win from four starts, five interceptions versus four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing), and a passer rating of 68.3. It’s time for Jackson to change the narrative – and expectation is high with the AFC having to go through Baltimore.
Wide Receiver Zay Flowers has given Baltimore an extra weapon this year, announcing himself to the big league with 77 receptions and 858 yards in 16 games – a franchise record for a rookie. He’s one of several players to step up in the absence of Jackson’s favorite target, Mark Andrews. More on him later…
On the other side of the ball, Baltimore sits on or around the top of many defensive rankings. They lead the league in sacks and points allowed per game, and are right up there when it comes to yards allowed and interceptions. This defense is the star of a very good all-round show.
But that won’t bother the Houston Texans, who arrive in Maryland brimming with confidence. Cleveland’s defense was ripped apart from the rookie sensation CJ Stroud, who lit up last weekend on his way to becoming the youngest Quarterback to ever win a playoff game.
Three first-half touchdowns in a record-breaking rookie display left the Browns shell-shocked, with Texans even taking out Stroud in the final stages of a 45-14 win. Statement made.