Dev's Battle Plans: Texans at Ravens

Every week, long time Ravens Insider site staffer and all-round Ravens guru Dev Panchwagh will break down the Ravens' strategy for the upcoming game. This week the Ravens host the Houston Texans.

Battle Plans: Houston Texans versus Baltimore Ravens

Offensive Keys:

1.) Working the outside: The Ravens still haven't been consistent when it comes to making plays down-the-field. Against Houston, the Raven receivers may have the opportunity to break loose vertically. The Ravens should use play-action and pump-and-go play fakes to get the safeties moving out of help positions, so the corners are isolated in man coverage.

2.) Three receivers: Considering that Houston will line up in a base 3-4 scheme on first-down, the best way to attack that front is to throw the ball out of a three or four-receiver set. The Ravens would be able to dictate favorable match-ups (like Mark Clayton versus a linebacker or a safety) out of this alignment.

3.) Blitz pickup: Houston will use a lot of looks at the line-of-scrimmage to bait Kyle Boller into making the wrong pre-snap read. Boller must do a better job of recognizing which blitz formation he sees based on film study. That means being able to adjust the blocking scheme and locate his hot reads.

Defensive Keys:

1.) Flushing out Carr: It's not really a surprise that the No.1 goal the Ravens must accomplish on Sunday is to pressure David Carr, a goal that many other defenses have successfully accomplished. Carr has been knocked down more times this season than Sonny Liston. Even if the Ravens aren't able to sack Carr a few times, they must get some hits on him because Carr will start to play in more of a protective mode.

2.) Head games: Considering that both Andre Johnson and Chris McAlister let trash talk affect their concentration, it will be interesting to see which player breaks first in the smack talking competition on Sunday. Of the two, Johnson is the bigger hot head. Johnson has been penalized before for instigating fights and instead of walking away from a potential confrontation with an opposing player, Johnson lets his emotions get the best of him. If one of the Raven corners works the emotional angle to get Johnson off track on Sunday, they must be careful not to get distracted themselves.

3.) Davis out of the back-field: While Dominack Davis hasn't been quite the rushing threat this season, he is still explosive enough to take over any game either as a runner or receiver. Davis is one of the better receiving backs in the league. He does a nice job of securing the ball while running and he is slippery in the open field. The Raven linebackers have to be cognizant of Davis when he leaks out of the backfield in passing situations.

One-on-one Match-up to Watch: Chris McAlister versus Andre Johnson

Dev Panchwagh is a long-time member of the Ravens Insider staff.  Talk to him about this article on the RavensInsider message boards where he posts under the super-secret ID 'dev21'.

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