Houston will unveil a rookie head coach and rookie quarterback, giving John Harbaugh’s group a heavy advantage when it comes to experience.
With warmups set to begin, here are three keys for the Ravens’ defense against the Texans’ offense.
Find Tank Dell
It’s not often that a rookie is a focal point for the opposing team, but Tank Dell is arguably the best wide receiver on the Houston roster.
Baltimore is hurting at the cornerback position and Dell has a very favorable matchup against the Ravens’ nickelbacks.
Pressure C.J. Stroud
Sunday’s season opener at M&T Bank Stadium represents the first game of DeMeco Ryans’ head-coaching career and the NFL debut of No. 2 overall pick, quarterback C.J. Stroud.
Some NFL franchises make life miserable for rookie quarterbacks, and the Ravens have terrorized first-year starters for much of their franchise’s history.
Since 2008, Baltimore is 14-2 against rookie starters at M&T Bank Stadium.
A former defensive coordinator in the Big-10 at Michigan, Mike Macdonald has familiarity with Stroud, who played at Ohio State.
MacDonald will likely show Stroud multiple looks upfront while bringing plenty of pressure.
Contain Dameon Pierce
A fourth-round pick by the Texans in 2022, running back Dameon Pierce put the NFL on notice, rushing for 939 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games, while averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
Pierce runs extremely hard and finished fifth in the NFL last season in yards after contact and fourth in broken tackles.
The Ravens starters only saw contact during joint practice sessions, and they’ll need to corral Pierce and prevent huge plays after contact.
On Wednesday, Houston placed starting right tackle Tytus Howard on injured reserve with a hand injury. Texans starting left guard (Kenyon Green) and top-two centers on the roster (Scott Quessenberry and Juice Scruggs) are also on injured reserve.