Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/9/14
The Baltimore Ravens are set to take the field at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday against the Houston Texans. After a astonishing 43-13 loss to the Texans last season, the Ravens are looking to redeem themselves. But it won’t be easy. Here are five keys to the game that the Ravens must focus on in order to take down the undefeated Texans. 1. Strong run game Bernard Pierce (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun) Ray Rice has been listed as day-to-day with a strained hip flexor which he sustained in last Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns. While Rice has been missing from practice this week, Bernard Pierce has stepped up in his place. Pierce was drafted by the Ravens in 2012 and has been able to practice alongside Rice ever since. Because of this, Pierce’s performance since his debut in the NFL shows that he is not an average backup running back. He is a powerful runner and has a good handle on the ball. Pierce’s numbers so far this season have been relatively close to Rice’s, with 28 carries for 79 yards and averaging 2.7 yards per carry, compared to Rice’s 25 carries for 72 yards, with an average of 2.9 yards per carry. 2. Stop the Texans run game The Ravens should not have too much to worry about with their run game, even if Ray Rice is sidelined on Sunday. But they need to shift their attention to Texans running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Foster and Tate are both reliable running backs for the Texans. Foster is a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the best running backs in the league. If the Ravens can stop him, it will be a great start to shutting the team down.  3. Step up in the secondary It’s no secret that the Ravens have struggled in the secondary this season. None of the players that started in the season opener against the Denver Broncos were out on the field at the beginning of last week’s matchup against the Browns. The Ravens need to figure out how to work together in the secondary and stop Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans dominant wide receivers. Tight end Owen Daniels is also one of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub’s go-to guys, especially in the red zone. Andre Johnson suffered a concussion from a hit last week, but he did practice today with the team. As of now, Johnson is expected to play on Sunday. 4. Put the Texans defense to work The Texans have arguably one of the best defenses in the league right now. But with J.J. Watt leading the defensive line, the Ravens may want think about passing the ball. Quarterback Joe Flacco has an arsenal of offensive weapons when it comes to throwing the ball. But establishing the connection between the quarterback and his receivers has not come easily for the Ravens offense this season. If the Ravens receivers can shut down the defensive backfield, Joe Flacco can deliver the ball comfortably to his receiver. However, the Ravens are going to have to look out for former teammate Ed Reed. Reed held the safety position in Baltimore for 11 years, but parted ways with the organization after the 2012 season. Although he has been battling a hip injury, there is a good chance that Reed will be back on the field in Baltimore on Sunday. 5. Bring the pressure Undoubtedly, Matt Schaub has plenty of adequate receivers to look for on the field. The Ravens not only need to cover the receivers, but they need to put the pressure on the quarterback. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil has been exceptional together on the pass rush so far this season. The Ravens front seven have stepped up to help in many ways, especially in the backfield. But the defensive line is going to have to exert more focus on the the opposing team’s quarterback in order to shut down Schaub.   Related Articles Baltimore Ravens: Lewis to be induction into Ring of Honor Baltimore Ravens: Week 2 recap Baltimore Ravens: The struggling secondary
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Family searching for missing Ohio State football player

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

Manny Pacquiao responds to Floyd Mayweather diss

Australian cricket player dies from head injuries

Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Things to be thankful for in the NBA this season

Eric Berry sends out Thanksgiving message

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks about Eminem referencing her

WATCH: Dwayne Harris dirty hit on Nolan Carroll sparks fight

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks Eminem

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.