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
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kentucky remains unbeaten after thrilling win over ND

Alabama DT arrested on domestic violence charges again

John Calipari blasted for postgame interview

WATCH: MJ, Tom Brady play pickup game in Bahamas

WATCH: Wrong national anthem played for El Salvador

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Russell Wilson smashes HR in Rangers BP

John Fox: Jay Cutler will have to earn starting QB job

Report: Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall candidates for Texas

Kurt Warner is helping to turn around Colin Kaepernick

Bizarre call allows Duke to cover spread against Utah

Saints love TE Josh Hill following Jimmy Graham trade

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Jim McElwain complains about Florida roster

Mark Few: I put Coach K up there with John Wooden

WATCH: Enes Kanter embraces boos in return to Utah

Mariners prospect dies from boat accident injuries

T.J. Ford sends heartfelt tweet about Rick Barnes

Bruins coach suits up as backup goalie

Tennessee fans show love for Bruce Pearl on campus rock

Louisville guard turned off phone after clutch NC State win

Steve Spurrier hung out with Kenny Chesney before concert

Winnipeg Jets prospect had a rough night on the ice

Did Dean Smith’s gifts to former players violate NCAA rules?

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

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.