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Lamar Jackson leads Ravens to AFC championship game

Led by likely NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens beat the Houston Texans 34-10 on Saturday in the AFC divisional playoffs at M&T Bank Stadium, advancing to next weekend’s AFC championship game.

Jackson had two touchdown passes (16-for-22, 152 yards) and two touchdown runs (100 yards on 11 carries) for Baltimore in the win. The game was tied 10-10 at halftime after Houston’s Steven Sims returned a punt for a touchdown in the second quarter, but the Ravens defense held the Texans scoreless after the intermission.

The Ravens will face either the Buffalo Bills or Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship next Sunday.

Here’s how all the action unfolded on Saturday in Baltimore:

Who do the Ravens play next?

The Ravens will host either the Buffalo Bills or the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game next Sunday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. ET.

NFL STATS CENTRAL: The latest NFL scores, schedules, odds, stats and more.

The Bills and Chiefs face off in a divisional round matchup on Sunday. 

It will mark Lamar Jackson’s first career AFC championship game. When asked what he’s looking forward too, Jackson said matter-of-factly, “Just playing. Getting on that field and we will go from there.”

It will mark the Ravens fifth AFC Championship game appearance and the first since 2012.

– Cydney Henderson

Lamar Jackson’s second rushing TD makes it 31-10

The presumptive league MVP is doing more MVP things. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for an 8-yard touchdown to extend the Ravens’ lead over the Texans to 31-10. 

Jackson picked up his second rushing touchdown of the night on a play-fake that he then ran into the end zone and up the stadium tunnel. 

Jackson has completed 16 passes for 152 passing yards and two passing touchdowns, in addition to 100 rushing yards and two rushing TDs. This is only the second game in his career where he has two touchdowns by both air and on the ground. 

The Ravens have dominated the second half, producing three straight touchdown drives, while holding the Texans scoreless in the third and fourth quarters so far. 

Ravens extend lead to 24-10

The Ravens added to their lead over the Texans following a 12-play, 93-yard drive that ate up 7:03 off the clock. 

Lamar Jackson connected with tight end Isaiah Likely for a 15-yard touchdown to go up 24-10 over the Texans in the beginning of the fourth quarter. 

The Ravens drive started on their own seven-yard line and was kept alive by a key fourth down conversion by Jackson. On 4th & 1 at Houston’s 49-yard-line, Jackson exploded for a 14-yard run, marking one of five first downs on their drive alone. 

Jackson is up to 15 completions for 141 passing yards and two touchdowns by air, in addition to 82 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. 

End of third quarter: Ravens 17, Texans 10

With 15 minutes left, Baltimore has the lead and could be adding to it soon.

The Ravens broke the tie to open the third quarter with a six play, 55-yard touchdown drive to make it a 17-10 game. After Houston was unable to score on its opening second half drive, the Ravens got the ball and are moving deep inside Houston territory. They’ll start the fourth quarter at the 19-yard line.

Lamar Jackson has faced lots of pressure from the Texans defense, but he’s been able to do it on the ground and the air to lead the Ravens today. He has 126 passing yards with 82 rushing yards, with a throwing and running score.

Texans stall again in Ravens territory

What looked like a promising drive ended in a punt for Houston after a failed trick play.

The Texans were able to get across midfield when the offense tried a reverse play into a pass, but Xavier Hutchinson caught it and was tackled five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Houston wasn’t able to do much after that, and opted to punt the ball inside Baltimore territory for the second time today.

Baltimore gets the ball back with just over six minutes left in the third quarter.

Ravens take lead with Lamar Jackson’s TD run

The Ravens are back on top following a 15-yard touchdown run from quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is up to 68 rushing yards. After nearly throwing an end zone interception, Jackson ran it straight up the middle on the next play to score.

Ravens receiver Devin Duvernay set the Ravens up in good field position on their own 45-yard line with a 37-yard punt return. 

Jackson, who accounted for 52 of the 55 yards on the touchdown drive, has completed ten passes for 89 yards and one touchdown in the air, in addition to one touchdown on the ground. 

The Ravens lead 17-10.  – Cydney Henderson

Texans dialing up blitz vs. Ravens

The Texans defense blitzed on 13 of 18 dropbacks in the first half (72.2%), according to Next Gen Stats. Lamar Jackson was sacked three times and pressured 10 times in the first two quarters. 

The Ravens were forced to punt their last three possessions in the first half. 

– Tyler Dragon

Halftime: Ravens 10, Texans 10

After one half and it’s still squared up between Houston and Baltimore with a 10-10 game at the break.

Lamar Jackson has nearly done it all for the Ravens, accounting for 102 of Baltimore’s 118 first half yards, including a touchdown pass in the second quarter. However Houston has been able to put the pressure on Jackson, including three sacks.

Houston’s offense was mostly ineffective in the first half, but a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown by Steven Sims gave the Texans their first touchdown of the game to tie the game up. C.J. Stroud has thrown for 131 yards in the first half on 11-for-20 passing.

The Texans have also racked up eight penalties for 50 yards in the half.

Baltimore will get the ball to start the third quarter.

– Jordan Mendoza

Texans miss field goal just before halftime

Houston had a chance to take its first lead of the game, but Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 47-yard field goal went to the right and it’s still tied with a few seconds left to go until halftime.

The Texans went 44 yards in eight plays on the drive, which included big catches from Nico Collins for gains of 29 and 16 yards.

– Jordan Mendoza

Steven Sims punt return touchdown for Texans: Tied at 10

Special teams are special for Houston with Steven Sims taking it 67 yards to the house on a punt to tie it up in the second quarter.

Sims caught the ball at the Houston 33-yard line and he weaved through the middle of the field, breaking off a few tackles before he broke free and walked into the end zone. The extra point was good to make it a 10-10 game with less than five minutes to go in the first half.

That punt return touchdown was the first in the NFL playoffs since 2013, when Denver’s Trindon Holliday went 90 yards against the Ravens.

Lamar Jackson leads TD drive to put Ravens ahead 10-3

Lamar Jackson continues to show why he’s the MVP favorite, using his arms and legs to get Baltimore in the endzone for the first touchdown of the day to make it a 10-3 Ravens lead.

The drive started with a 23-yard scramble from Jackson, and the quarterback found Zay Flowers for a 17-yard gain a few plays later to get into Houston territory. Then Jackson had another scramble for 15 yards to set up the Ravens at the two-yard line.

Two plays later, Jackson stayed in the pocket and eventually found a wide open Nelson Agholor to dump it off to. 

Jackson so far is 7-for-9 with 52 passing yards, and is the leading rusher with 49 yards on five carries. 

– Jordan Mendoza

End of first quarter: Ravens 3, Texans 3

One quarter in and it’s knotted at 3-3 in Baltimore.

Houston was able to move the ball on its third possession to set up a 50-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn.

The Ravens will start the second quarter near midfield after Lamar Jackson had a scramble turn into a 23-yard run. The likely MVP accounted for 63 of Baltimore’s 72 first-quarter yards.

Penalties have been a killer for Houston so far, with six for 40 yards in the first quarter. The Texans were one of the most penalized teams in the NFL, the fourth most in the regular season.

– Jordan Mendoza

Houston stalls on second drive

The Texans committed three penalties on their second drive, which started on a Devin Singletary 11-yard catch.

Singletary also caught a 26-yard catch on a third and eight, but an intentional grounding call and a false start backed the Texans out of field goal range, leading to another punt.

Stroud has started the game 4-7 for 49 yards.

– Scooby Axson

Justin Tucker nails long field goal to put Ravens ahead

Leave it to the most accurate kicker in NFL history to get Baltimore on the board.

After forcing a three-and-out on Houston’s opening drive, the Ravens were able to pick up some first downs to get in field goal range, capped off with Justin Tucker drilling a 53-yard field goal for the first points of the game.

The Ravens started the drive on their own 25-yard line and the play of Lamar Jackson got the offense moving toward Texans territory. However, a key tackle by Houston’s Christian Harris on Jackson put Baltimore behind the chains. After the Ravens were unable to convert a third-and-long, Tucker came in for the field goal.

Jackson accounted for 40 of Baltimore’s 41 yards on the opening drive.

– Jordan Mendoza

Texans make bold choice for opening kickoff

Much like the Green Bay Packers last week in their upset over the Dallas Cowboys, the Texans chose to receive the ball first upon winning the coin toss. 

Except that’s where the similarities of the Packers’ and Texans’ decisions ended. 

Houston went three-and-out, while the Packers scored a touchdown on their first possession. 

The Ravens gained control of the ball about 90 seconds into the game and will also get the ball after halftime. 

– Chris Bumbaca

Ravens vs. Texans how to watch 

Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET, broadcast on ABC and ESPN. The game is also available to stream on fuboTV.

Ravens vs. Texans predictions 

Check out USA TODAY Sports’ full divisional round picks

Jarrett Bell: Ravens 30, Texans 20  Chris Bumbaca: Ravens 30, Texans 17 Nate Davis: Ravens 28, Texans 20 Safid Deen: Ravens 28, Texans 24 Tyler Dragon: Ravens 27, Texans 20 Victoria Hernandez: Ravens 30, Texans 23 Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz: Ravens 28, Texans 20 Lorenzo Reyes: Ravens 28, Texans 21

Peyton Manning, Carmelo Anthony in the building 

“The Bank really is the place to be,” the Ravens tweeted Saturday morning, referring to the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. And the Ravens aren’t lying. 

Stars flocked to the sidelines ahead of the Ravens’ divisional round matchup against the Texans on Saturday afternoon. Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning caught up with Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith, while tight end Mark Andrews dapped up former NBA star Carmelo Anthony. 

Other celebrity attendees include former NBA player Rudy Gay, a Baltimore native, and comedian Stavros Halkias.

Cydney Henderson

Ravens, Texans inactives listed

The inactives have been listed for both teams.

Jim Harbaugh in Baltimore to support brother 

Jim Harbaugh already captured a championship in 2024, and he’s hoping his brother can do the same. 

The Michigan head football coach is at M&T Bank Stadium to support John Harbaugh and Baltimore in its divisional matchup on Saturday. The two were seen greeting each other as the Ravens arrived at the stadium. 

The Harbaugh brothers could be opponents next season with Jim Harbaugh interviewing for the head coaching job for the Los Angeles Chargers and Atlanta Falcons. He was also in the area this weekend speaking at a March for Life rally in Washington on Friday.

– Jordan Mendoza

Ravens NFL playoff history 

This is the organization’s 15th playoff appearance since becoming the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. The team is 16-12 in the postseason, winning Super Bowls 35 and 47. Baltimore is 4-7 in 11 divisional round games and 2-2 in the AFC championship game. 

Texans NFL playoff history 

This is the Texans’ seventh postseason appearance since the franchise was founded in 2002. They are 5-6 in 11 total playoff games and 0-4 in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. Houston has never reached the AFC championship game. 

Ravens vs. Texans history 

The Baltimore Ravens are 11-2 all-time against the Houston Texans, including a 20-13 win in the 2012 AFC divisional playoffs. The two teams met in Week 1 of the 2023 regular season, a 25-9 Ravens win at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. 

Ravens vs. Texans weather 

The Baltimore weather forecast calls for temperatures in the low-mid 20s with winds around 20 mph around kickoff at 4:30 p.m. ET. The region was hit with snow throughout the week. 

Who is favored in Ravens vs. Texans? 

The top NFL betting apps favor the Ravens over the Texans in their divisional playoff game. 

Ravens vs. Texans spread  

The Ravens are 9.5-point favorites over the Texans according to the BetMGM NFL odds.  

Ravens vs. Texans over under  

The over-under is 44 points, according to BetMGM. 

Ravens vs. Texans moneyline 

The Ravens are a –480 favorite on the moneyline. Meanwhile, the Texans are a +360 underdog, according to BetMGM. 

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This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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