Despite Being Favored, Baltimore Dealing with Key Injuries Heading into Saturday’s Showdown
In Saturday’s AFC divisional round clash, the Baltimore Ravens find themselves as the favorites by more than a touchdown against the Houston Texans. However, the matchup might not be as one-sided as it appears on paper, considering the Texans’ impressive rebound from an 0-2 start and their recent strong performance.
Houston, led by rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, secured the AFC South championship after winning 10 of its last 15 regular-season games. Stroud, a former MVP candidate, showcased his potential in the first career playoff game, delivering a stellar performance with 16 of 21 completions for 274 yards, three touchdowns, and zero turnovers. The Texans’ defense added to the dominance with pick-sixes and rendered the Cleveland Browns’ rushing attack ineffective in a convincing 45-14 victory.
The injury report for Saturday’s game adds another layer of intrigue. While both teams are dealing with health concerns, the Ravens seem to be facing more significant challenges. Star tight end Mark Andrews, the team’s leading receiver in three of the past five seasons, returned from a November ankle injury but remains uncertain for the upcoming game. Coach John Harbaugh stated that Andrews’ status is “up in the air,” emphasizing the need for activation off injured reserve by Friday. Andrews was listed as questionable in the latest injury report.
The Ravens’ secondary is grappling with a major setback as Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey has been ruled out for Saturday’s playoff matchup against the Texans. Humphrey, a three-time Pro Bowler, and 2019 first-team All-Pro, sustained a calf injury on December 31 and has not participated in practice since. In his absence, Brandon Stephens and Ronald Darby are expected to step up as the starting cornerbacks.
On the Texans’ side, the health outlook appears more optimistic, with only three players receiving injury designations in Thursday’s report. Defensive end Jerry Hughes is ruled out with an ankle injury, while fullback Andrew Beck and offensive tackle George Fant are listed as questionable.
As the Ravens and Texans gear up for a crucial playoff showdown at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, the uncertainties surrounding key players’ health add an extra layer of anticipation to an already highly anticipated matchup. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. CT.