The teams with the two best records in the AFC met on Sunday in Houston, but only the Texans looked like contenders. The Ravens looked like pretenders.
In a one-sided beatdown that sent a strong signal to the rest of the conference that the road to the Super Bowl will go through Houston, the Texans stomped the Ravens in all phases of the game. We still have a long season ahead of us, but the Texans are now the overwhelming favorites to earn home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs.
Everything went right for the Texans and wrong for the Ravens. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub had a big game; Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had a terrible game. Texans running back Arian Foster had a big game; Ravens running back Ray Rice didn’t do much early and the Ravens abandoned the running game once the rout was on. The Texans’ defense had a safety and a pick-six and generally controlled the game; the Ravens’ defense looked like it really, really misses cornerback Lardarius Webb and spiritual leader Ray Lewis.
There was just one bright spot for Baltimore: The Ravens’ defense got linebacker Terrell Suggs back for the first time after an offseason Achilles tendon injury, and Suggs played amazingly well. He had a sack, knocked down two passes, and generally looked like the same Terrell Suggs we’ve grown accustomed to seeing as one of the best defensive players in football. The only problem is that Suggs can’t win a game all by himself, and none of his teammates bothered to show up today.
This Ravens team looks like it has a lot of problems — about as many problems as a 5-2 team can have. But this Texans team is tremendous. Definitely the best team in the AFC.