Two weeks ago, Houston was losing its top linebacker to injury. Last week, it was Baltimore. Does this game set up as an OVER play with both defenses in tatters?
Both tied with the best record in the AFC at 5-1 straight up, the Baltimore Ravens visit the Houston Texans this Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
But injury situations threaten both teams and have left Houston as a 6.5-point favorite at most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com (the lines provider to SBNation, watch for Twitter updates on injury and line move situations this week).
The Baltimore Ravens topped Dallas 31-29 last Sunday to improve to 5-1 SU, but received some terrible news on the injury front in the process. Both cornerback Lardarius Webb and linebacker Ray Lewis are both out with season-ending injuries.
Webb's presence in the secondary will be sorely missed, and Lewis is the heart and soul leader of this defense. Despite picking up wins in four straight games, Baltimore is 0-4 ATS over that stretch.
The Houston Texans suffered their first loss of the season Sunday night at the hand of the Green Bay Packers, who came into Houston and beat the Texans 42-24. It was an uncharacteristically bad day for Houston's defense, which had allowed just 14.6 points per game through the first five games of the season.
Since starting the year off 4-0 SU and ATS, Houston has now split its last two games 1-1 SU and gone 0-2 ATS.
Historically this matchup has been all Baltimore as the Ravens are 6-0 SU and 4-2 ATS all-time in six games against the Houston Texans including last year's win in the playoffs. Baltimore is a perfect 3-0 both SU and ATS on the road against Houston.
Of course historically, the Ravens haven't been so banged up on defense, nor have the Texans been so strong on the defensive side of the ball. Fortunately for Baltimore's defense, Terrell Suggs is set to return from injury this week and should make an immediate impact in the linebacking core.
This will probably be the year that the Houston Texans finally beat the Baltimore Ravens. With the game at home and Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson all healthy, the time to strike is now.
But even with the key injuries on Baltimore's defense, the remaining players as well as this offense are good enough to prevent this one from getting ugly, making taking the points look like the right move.
PICK: Baltimore +6.5 (courtesy of PickShark.com)