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QBs Jackson And Watson Set To Star As Ravens Visit Texans

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) catches a touchdown as Cleveland Browns free safety Karl Joseph (42) attempts to tackle, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Baltimore, MD. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) catches a touchdown as Cleveland Browns free safety Karl Joseph (42) attempts to tackle, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Baltimore, MD. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Baltimores Lamar Jackson was torn when asked if he enjoys matchups such as Sundays against the Houston Texans and fellow talented and mobile quarterback Deshaun Watson.

HOUSTON: Baltimores Lamar Jackson was torn when asked if he enjoys matchups such as Sundays against the Houston Texans and fellow talented and mobile quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Thats a great quarterback were going against (so) I say no, because of how dynamic he is, and our defense has to prepare for him, he said. But (yes), you could say that. You could say that, yes.

So, while Jackson is looking forward to showcasing his talents in a game against Watson, he knows dealing with Houstons star will be a tall task for his defense.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh agreed with his quarterback and raved about Watson.

Hell throw it to anybody. Hell throw it deep. Hell throw it short. Hell throw it to every different receiver you saw that last week and hell run, Harbaugh said. Its a big concern for a defense a major problem for any defense and were working to try to figure it out this week.

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Of course, the Texans are in the same boat in figuring out ways to slow down Jackson after last seasons MVP threw for 222 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 79 yards in Baltimores 41-7 rout of them last year.

Hes just got a very unique skill set, Texans coach Bill OBrien said. Obviously hes very fast, hes very quick. Over time hes become a better passer. Hes a very accurate passer. He does a really good job using all the people around him. They have a great scheme … hes the MVP, so weve got … a big challenge ahead of us.

Its the second game to start the season where the Texans will face an MVP quarterback after they lost 34-20 to 2018 winner Patrick Mahomes and the Super Bowl champion Kansas Chiefs last week.

The Ravens easily handled Cleveland 38-6 in their opener last week behind three touchdown passes from Jackson. The victory extended Baltimores regular-season winning streak to an NFL-best 13 in a row, which is the leagues longest run since Carolina won 18 straight in 2014-15.

OBrien likes the challenge his team is facing early this season.

Thats what its all about, he said. Youre going up against the best. We were a playoff team last year. We played the Super Bowl champs last week and now were playing a team that was 14-2 last year.

EMPTY STADIUM

There wont be any fans at NRG Stadium on Sunday because of the coronavirus. Team officials made the announcement last month and said at the time that some fans could be allowed at later games if conditions in the area, which has been a COVID-19 hotspot, improve.

Houston star defensive end J.J. Watt said he cant remember a time he played a game at any level without a crowd. He reminisced about hearing his grandfather going nuts in the stands when he played youth football in front of a small crowd. But he then added that the lack of fans on Sunday really shouldnt impact anyones performance.

As an athlete, if you cant get yourself ready and amped up to compete against another team and to compete at the highest level, then you really probably shouldnt be out there in the first place, he said.

DREAM START

Ravens rookie linebacker Patrick Queen played a major role in his NFL debut, leading the team in tackles at middle linebacker and adding a sack.

He showed his explosive speed a couple times, where he went and made some plays, Harbaugh said. He didnt panic at all. I felt like that was the best thing about it as a start. And he should only improve from here.

Queen starred at LSU before being selected by Baltimore in the first round of the NFL draft. He stepped right in as a starter at a key position in the middle of the defense.

Its what I expected, Queen said of his first game as a pro. I wanted to do better than I did, but Im grateful for what I got. I prayed about it, slept on it, dreamed of making plays.

PLENTY OF PLAYMAKERS

The Texans dont have DeAndre Hopkins anymore, but Will Fuller stepped up last week with eight catches for 112 yards against Kansas City.

Hes a go-to receiver, for sure. Very talented, very fast, definitely someone that we have to mark, Harbaugh said.

Even though Baltimore held the Texans to a single touchdown last year, Harbaugh knows the Texans can ring up points through the air.

They have four really good receivers who are all high-end receivers in the National Football League, he said. They have two excellent tight ends and two running backs who are excellent receivers. So, they have a lot of weapons in the passing game to go with Deshaun Watson.

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AP Sports Writer David Ginsburg contributed to this report.

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