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Ravens officially set to play Houston in divisional round, open two roster spots for playoff run

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After beginning tentative preparations to face Houston over the weekend, the top-seeded Ravens have officially learned they’ll be hosting the Texans in the divisional round on Saturday.

With Pittsburgh losing at Buffalo in Monday’s wild-card matchup, Baltimore will take on No. 4 seed Houston for the second time in franchise postseason history with the first meeting resulting in a 20-13 Ravens victory at M&T Bank Stadium on Jan. 15, 2012. Of course, these teams met in the 2023 opener with the Ravens prevailing 25-9 in Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud’s first career start, but Houston has been one of the NFL’s biggest surprises, improving from a woeful 3-13-1 last year to go 10-7 and win the AFC South.

“I’d say coaching, experience, all the things that a good team does that continues to improve throughout the season,” said head coach John Harbaugh about how the Texans have changed since that Week 1 matchup. “They’ve done a really good job of that. Obviously, they’re very well-coached. They have really good young players [and] some veteran players as well. They’ve continued to improve throughout.” 

The 4:30 p.m. kickoff will be Lamar Jackson’s first postseason start since the 2020 divisional-round trip to Buffalo.

The first injury report of the week will be released Tuesday as the Ravens will hope to welcome the likes of wide receiver Zay Flowers (calf), cornerback Marlon Humphrey (calf), and outside linebacker Odafe Oweh (ankle) back to practice after they sat out last week. Flowers and Humphrey didn’t play in the Week 18 loss to Pittsburgh while Oweh hurt his ankle early in that regular-season finale.

“We’re pretty optimistic about everybody and then varying degrees of optimism with certain guys,” Harbaugh said. “Really, it’s just like any week — you just have to see it unfold. Some guys are good to go. Other guys are going to be more day by day.”

On Monday, the Ravens waived wide receiver Laquon Treadwell and placed cornerback Damarion Williams on injured reserve, which opens two spots on their 53-man roster for the divisional round. That’s notable with Baltimore having recently designated tight end Mark Andrews (ankle), wide receiver and return specialist Devin Duvernay (back), and defensive back Ar’Darius Washington (pectoral) to return to practice from IR. Veteran running back Dalvin Cook is another option to contribute to the postseason run, but he can be elevated from the practice squad without occupying a spot on the 53-man roster for the time being.

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