Why this game is intriguing: There are only two teams in the AFC that are over .500, and these are them. The Baltimore Ravens, winners of four straight, are 5-1. And so are the Houston Texans, coming off their first loss on Sunday night to the Green Bay Packers. So why does this one have as much intrigue regarding what's wrong as compared to what's right? Because you'll learn much about the resiliency of whichever team comes out ahead. If it's the Texans, you'll know they shook off a mistake-filled performance that saw their run game get shut down and their players commit crushing penalties. If it's the Ravens, you'll know the foundation is strong enough to overcome the crushing losses of perennial Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis and star cornerback Lardarius Webb. Winner becomes the only one-loss team in the conference.
What to watch: All eyes on key backups for Baltimore. Can Dannell Ellerbe, the former undrafted free agent from Georgia, possibly fill the shoes of Lewis? Or, given the recent run-stuffing struggles of Lewis, could Ellerbe actually be an upgrade in some capacities? Former first-rounder Jimmy Smith replaces Webb in the starting lineup, but the trickle-down effect could be enormous, as depth takes a hit. The Texans' offense, as well-rounded a unit as there is, has the option of attacking one facet. Will they target the super subs? Meanwhile, Houston's defense was repeatedly stung by Green Bay last week, as Aaron Rodgers torched the secondary. Can those defensive back bounce back from six touchdowns at their expense?