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Ravens Insider: Ravens to face Houston Texans in AFC divisional playoff round Saturday at 4:30 p.m.


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The Ravens will host the Houston Texans and sensational rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ABC and ESPN.

They had to wait an extra day to find out their opponent because of ferocious winter weather in Buffalo, but the Bills finished off the Ravens’ other potential foe, the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-17, in Monday’s rescheduled AFC wild-card contest.

The Ravens beat the Texans, 25-9, in their season opener, but that was Stroud’s first NFL game, and he has since produced one of the greatest rookie quarterback seasons in league history. He hit a new peak on Saturday, completing 16 of 21 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns as the Texans thrashed the Cleveland Browns and quarterback Joe Flacco, 45-14, in the wild-card round.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh praised the Texans after the opener, saying they would exceed expectations.

“They are 17 games different,” he said Monday when asked how they’ve evolved. “It’s coaching, experience — all the things that a good team does that continues to improve throughout the season. They’ve done a really good job of that. Obviously, they’re very well-coached. They have really good young players, some veteran players as well. They’ve continued to improve throughout [the season].”

The Ravens “dialed in” on preparing for the Texans as soon as they dispatched the Browns, Harbaugh said, but were ready to pivot to the No. 7 seed Steelers if they upset Buffalo.

Ravens fans had spent weeks anticipating a possible bittersweet reunion with their last Super Bowl hero, Flacco, who lifted the Browns to four straight wins and the AFC’s No. 5 seed after spending the first half of the season home with his family.

Instead, it will be Stroud, who completed 28 of 44 passes for 242 yards at M&T Bank Stadium in September, throwing to his top target, wide receiver Nico Collins. The Texans also feature a talented young defense led by rookie edge rusher Will Anderson, second-year cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and linebacker Blake Cashman. Coach DeMeco Ryans led Houston, which drafted Stroud and Anderson with the second and third picks in the 2023 draft, respectively, to a seven-win improvement in his first season.

The Texans clinched their first AFC South title since 2019 by beating the Colts in Indianapolis on the last Sunday of the regular season while the Jacksonville Jaguars lost to the host Titans.

The Ravens went 13-4 in the regular season to earn the AFC’s No. 1 seed, the first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.

The No. 2 seed Bills, meanwhile, will host the No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs in the other AFC divisional round game at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. If the Ravens beat the Texans, they’ll host the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium for the first time Sunday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m.

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