The Baltimore Ravens might end up going to the playoffs, but it won't be pretty. Maybe that's the Baltimore way, a defense that is worthy of the label "elite" helping to drag up an offense led by a guy who should not be near the label. The good news for Ravens fans is they can blindly hope, trust and assume that once the playoffs get here, Joe Flacco will just turn it on.

Eleven games of regular season action has provided no real proof of that, and Monday night's win over the Texans, an ugly 23-16 final in front of a surprisingly quiet home Baltimore crowd, was an abomination of offensive football. Flacco squared off against Tom Savage and, frankly, it wasn't fun to watch.

Flacco's game has always been predicated on blasting deep balls down the field. He no longer has the accuracy -- perhaps for health reasons -- and he does not have the weapons either. All due respect to Mike Wallace, but he's not hauling in the passes he should, nor is he down the field tapping his toes the way a No. 1 wideout should. 

Alex Collins is fun to watch run the ball, and he finished with 60 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, but if that's the most exciting thing about the Ravens' offense, there are major problems.

Fortunately the Baltimore defense is lethal. Jimmy Smith got smoked by DeAndre Hopkins over and over again on Monday, but he's been having a nice season thus far. With Brandon Carr resurgent and Eric Weddle ageless, the secondary is dangerous. 

Terrell Suggs is having a phenomenal year, and it continued Monday with a pair of sacks and a game-sealing forced fumble.

Ultimately, there is a little bit of this team that could remind you of the 2012 Ravens -- a great defense helping to make a questionable team make a late run towards the playoffs and crossing fingers that the offense can get going. 

"We're a dangerous November and December team, especially when we're healthy," Suggs said on ESPN after the game. "Everyone knows once we get in that second season, we become a whole different team, we become a very special team."

I mean, that's believable in a weird way. There's not the same firepower there on offense. Flacco is Flacco, and we've seen him elevate his game to a totally different level. But there's no Ray Rice. There's no Anquan Boldin. It's just us clinging to an antiquated notion that the Ravens' offense can magically pull an Undertaker and rise from the dead to dominate in the playoffs.

Given their remaining schedule -- Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indy, Cincy -- there is at least a good chance we'll find out if the Ravens are playoff zombies. 

Clowney comin' 

With the Texans struggling, it has been a quiet season in terms of publicity for Jadeveon Clowney. He is having a career-best year though, even with J.J. Watt sidelined. And he showed up early against the Ravens on Monday night.

On one tackle for a loss where he snuffed out an Alex Collins rushing attempt, Clowney lined up as a linebacker, sauntered around for a second and timed the snap on a blitz before busting into the backfield completely untouched. 

Maybe put a body on him, guys. Clowney also produced a sack on a play where he ripped through multiple defenders with a pair of swim moves -- one with each arm -- and quickly found Joe Flacco. That gave Clowney a sack in five straight games, the longest streak in football currently. 

He's playing at an incredibly high level this season and is quietly establishing himself as one of the upper-echelon defenders in the NFL. Considering how quickly folks wanted to question the Texans for taking Clowney, their patience is being rewarded.

Baltimore's best passer

The Ravens are not a high-octane offense when it comes to passing the football. Joe Flacco was once considered elite for some reason, but his back issue and a lack of wide receivers has neutered the Ravens' passing attack (to the extent that it was ever really that exciting in the first place). 

Fortunately Baltimore has punter Sam Koch! Koch delivered one of the best passes of the night for Baltimore, throwing a dart on a fake punt that helped to set up a Javorius Allen touchdown a few plays later.

The result of Koch's pass left him as the highest-rated passer in the game come halftime.

It's not like this is new for Koch, either. He's been dealing for years, having gone 4 for 4 in his career when it comes to passing attempts. He's basically the Mohamed Sanu of punters.

Maybe the Ravens should let him throw more often.

The new Andre

When the Texans drafted DeAndre Hopkins, he was supposed to be a complement to Andre Johnson. But with Johnson moving on fairly quickly, Hopkins has become the newer version of Johnson. We got a brief moment in time where "Nuk" was able to catch passes from a high-quality quarterback, as Deshaun Watson helped to reinvigorate his enthusiasm towards football for a half-season stretch this year. (It was like when Matt Schaub led the league in passing yards.) 

Now we just get to keep seeing Hopkins catch passes from Tom Savage, which is better than Brock Osweiler and maybe better than Brian Hoyer, but still not a great thing. 

Despite the quarterback under center, Hopkins always manages to come through. With a 39-yard pickup in the fourth quarter, Hopkins topped 100 yards on the night, which tied him for a franchise best in a player's first five seasons with, well, you know who he's tied with.

Hopkins, after that catch, has 401 yards on the season ... in the fourth quarter. Maybe don't put him in single coverage late.

Hopkins has been incredible this season, dragging the Texans' passing game along by himself for large stretches. And if you watched the Ravens game, you know just how badly he was mauled by the defense. It got to the point where he looked like a comic book version of someone who was attacked by a large animal.

Hopkins deserves better. Here's hoping he gets years of a healthy Deshaun Watson.

Everything is coming up Cleveland

Remember when the Texans and Browns swapped a bunch of picks this offseason? Well, the good news is that the Texans ultimately ended up landing Watson, so they have a franchise quarterback. 

The bad news is it appears they will be handing the Browns a very high draft pick in exchange for the rights to Watson. Following Monday night's loss, here's the updated draft order, with the Texans giving up a top-10 draft pick.

But, wait, there's more. And it's also bad. The Texans are giving up their second-round pick too, because they traded Cleveland Brock Osweiler and threw in a second-round pick to convince Cleveland to take his salary. (The NFL and Browns/Texans won't acknowledge it, but it was a salary dump deal and nothing more.) The Browns are on track to get two top-40 picks from the Texans in exchange for taking on Osweiler's albatross of a deal and giving up the rights to Watson.

Given how Watson has played, it would be hard to justify those selections, but the plan Cleveland set out to execute is working out the way they hoped. Whoever is running the front office will have a lot of very good picks in the upcoming draft.

What's next

The Ravens are currently the No. 6 seed in the AFC and will look to defend their playoff hopes with a home matchup against the Lions on Dec. 3. Detroit will be a desperate team, with the NFC race getting extremely heated and the Lions on the outside looking in.

The Texans will also be desperate to try and keep any slim playoff hopes alive when they head to Tennessee next week to play the Titans. The Titans aren't very good, but they are the No. 3 seed in the AFC somehow. They have to consider themselves lucky to get the Texans in this spot.