The Ravens’ defense has been very good this season, which has helped make up for the fact that Joe Flacco and the passing game have been downright awful. Should we expect more of that tonight from the Ravens against Houston and one of the league’s worst pass defenses?
So far this season the Ravens have shut down almost every passing game they have encountered. They are allowing only 120 receiving yards per game to opposing wideouts, but even with Tom Savage throwing the ball on the road Hopkins is going to get peppered with targets.
With the Ravens favored by more than a touchdown, game script dictates that the Texans will likely be playing from behind in this one. As we’ve seen since Deshaun Watson got hut, in games where the Texans are trying to come back from a deficit Hopkins gets all the targets.
Hopkins totaled 42 targets in the three games prior to the Texans’ most recent win over the Cardinals, and in four road games this season Hopkins has 47 targets. If he gets 12 or more in this one, I see him catching seven or eight balls, which should be enough to go over the total. Hopkins is averaging a respectable 7.5 yards per target and 14 yards per catch. Even though his catch rate has not been great, the Ravens’ defense has also let up some against wideouts recently. Over their last four games, the Ravens have allowed 142 receiving yards per game to wideouts, and if that holds tonight in a game that the Texans should be throwing, I see 80-plus yards from Hopkins.Free NFL Pick: Over 70½Best Lines Offered Both: Bovada
Mike Wallace O/U 39½ Receiving Yards
On the flip side is Wallace, who if he is not catching long passes from Flacco has been an invisible man this season. Wallace has four games with just one catch and single digit yards, and only three times has he gotten 40 or more yards receiving in a game. With how badly Flacco is playing right now, there is a chance Wallace is the forgotten man. Jeremy Maclin seems like the much more reliable target right now, and the return of Danny Woodhead might also take some targets away from Wallace.
Wallace put up most of his big games when Woodhead was out, and with the running back expected to handle a full load tonight, that’s one more skill player who is more reliable than Wallace that Flacco has to throw to. Combined with Benjamin Watson, who has also been pretty good for the Ravens, and Wallace might be the third or fourth option tonight. In a game where the script says Flacco might not have to throw much, I’m on the 'under' for the inconsistent Wallace. As long as he doesn’t catch any 25-plus yard bombs, I think it’s a safer play.Free NFL Pick: Under 39½