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Can Houston hang with Baltimore?

The Houston Texans have a history of finishing well, once the pressure's off and they are out of the race. Under coach Gary Kubiak, the franchise is 14-6 in December and January.

They are still alive, but they need a four-game win streak and some help to earn their first playoff berth. It’s a real long shot.

Monday night they get national exposure, hosting Baltimore, a team they’ve not beaten in three chances.

The Texans carry a finesse label, and their harshest critics call them soft. If they are soft against the physical Ravens, they’ll be doomed.

John McClain wrote Thursday about the difficulties Chris Myers, Eric Winston and Joel Dreessen could have against the massive but mobile defensive lineman Haloti Ngata. (Imagine if the Texans had a middle-of-the-line presence like Ngata.) Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was dominant in the Ravens' loss to Pittsburgh, and will look to terrorize Duane Brown.

In Nashville there’s a lot of talk about whether the Titans have given up on Jeff Fisher. Bernard Pollard talked recently about why there shouldn’t be any question about the Texans giving their all for Gary Kubiak.

It will tell us a good deal about Houston’s composition if the Texans are able to stand toe-to-toe with the Ravens. (It would have told us more if they could have won in Philadelphia.)

I’ll admit to not expecting a great showing. How about you?