BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens found their blueprint for a potential run to the postseason.
In their perfect scenario, the defense comes up with key turnovers and the offense makes just enough plays to eke out a victory.
That strategy was on full display in a key 23-16 victory over the Houston Texans on Monday night. Baltimore forced three turnovers, and quarterback Joe Flacco managed the offense well enough to gain some separation.
"If the game's on the line, you've got to be comfortable when your defense is out there," Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "It feels good."
The Ravens (6-5) now control their destiny for a spot in the postseason. The victory over the Texans allowed them to retake the sixth and final playoff spot from the Buffalo Bills.
Baltimore now has a favorable schedule the rest of the way, playing just two teams with winning records. Three of the Ravens' final five games are at home.
"We're taking it a game at a time, to be honest with you," running back Javorius "Buck" Allen said. "The P-word (playoffs) has not come up yet. Now, we know what we need to do to get there, but we're taking it week by week and getting it done."
Baltimore leads the NFL with 26 takeaways. That has played the biggest part in keeping the club's playoff hopes alive in a mediocre AFC.
The Ravens have not been able to get much going on offense throughout the season. Injuries have hampered the offensive line, and Flacco has dealt with inconsistent play by his receivers.
Baltimore was booed by the home fans in the game against the Texans. The crowd grew frustrated by the Ravens' inability to take advantage of some of the big plays by the defense, which was left on the field for long spurts.
The Ravens were just 3-for-14 on third downs (21.4 percent).
"I think we're growing still," tight end Benjamin Watson said. "Obviously, we haven't played our best yet. We won -- that's a good thing. We know we can get better."
Baltimore managed to capitalize at crucial times.
Punter Sam Koch threw a 22-yard pass to wide receiver Chris Moore on a fake punt early in the second quarter that set up a touchdown run by Allen. The Ravens pulled ahead later in the first half when Collins ran 29 yards on a fourth-and-1, and the offensive line pushed Allen into the end zone on the next play.
From there, the defense kept the Texans out of the end zone for the final 51 minutes of the game. It wasn't pretty, but that is the least concern for Baltimore.