The Tennessee Titans will face the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the playoffs as huge underdogs
The Tennessee Titans are rolling in hot after beating the New England Patriots in the Wild Card round behind a monster game from Derrick Henry. The Titans will face the AFC’s top-seeded Baltimore Ravens on Saturday at 7:15 P.M. CT at M&T Bank Stadium on CBS.
The Ravens are led by the presumptive MVP in Lamar Jackson, who has posted 42 total touchdowns this season. The dual-threat quarterback will be making his second start in the playoffs.
Both teams are looking to ride their respective rushing attacks for a spot in the AFC Championship Game next week.
Titans vs. Ravens: Betting odds and lines
The Titans are on the road as the No. 6 seed, opening as large underdogs in this matchup. The Ravens are currently 10-point favorites in this matchup, according to The Action Network.
The Titans (+320) are sitting against heavy odds to win this matchup against the Ravens (-430). The Titans are currently the biggest underdog this weekend.
The over/under is at 47 points, being driven by two explosive and high-scoring offenses. The Ravens ended the season as the No. 1 scoring offense, while the Titans finished tenth.
Jackson and Co. have posted six 40-plus point games on offense this season alone, while the Titans have five 30-plus point games since Ryan Tannehill has taken over. The Titans have hit the over in nine of their last 11 games.
The Titans are getting a surprisingly warm game for a Saturday night in Baltimore in mid-January, according to NFLWeather.com.
The temperatures are expected to be in the high 50’s; however, there is an expected overcast with significant winds starting game time. With winds expected to reach 12 MPH over the course of the contest, the kicking game might experience some impact.
The Tennessee Titans will be missing two key pieces on Saturday. Wide receiver Adam Humphries will miss his sixth consecutive game, but the biggest missing piece will be linebacker Jayon Brown, who hurt his shoulder in the Patriots game. He has been a vital piece for the Titans defense and will be missed due to the fact that he’s an elite coverage linebacker.
Good news for the Titans is the return of wide receiver Kalif Raymond, who should take back return duties after missing the last two games with a concussion.
The Ravens, on the other hand, are getting good news with the return of running back Mark Ingram, who was a limited participant in practice on Thursday. Ingram is listed as questionable with a calf injury but is expected to play. Tight end Mark Andrews is also listed as questionable with an ankle injury.
The ground-and-pound matchup
It’s no secret that Tennessee and Baltimore both love running the ball. While the Ravens are the top-ranked rushing team in the league averaging 206 rushing yards per game this season, the Titans sit third behind league-leading rusher Derrick Henry.
Both teams will look to get the ground game going. The Titans have used Henry as the primary back all year long, and will look to continue that against the Ravens’ top-five rushing defense. Henry carried the ball 34 times last week against the Patriots en route to 182 yards. There is no reason to expect that the Titans won’t give Henry 20-plus touches in this game as well.
On the other side of the field, Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram are both dynamic rushers with over 1,000 yards each. While Ingram is their primary back, Jackson is the true fear factor in the run game. Jackson has over 1,200 yards rushing in only 176 attempts. That is nearly half of Henry’s attempts on the season.
While teams have struggled to mitigate the rushing offenses, both quarterbacks were also passing at a high level during the regular season to add another layer of difficulty in slowing down these teams.
Jackson has 36 touchdowns through the air, relying primarily on his tight ends to win matchups and do most of the damage. Ravens TE Mark Andrews has 10 touchdowns on the year and was the team’s leading receiver.
Ryan Tannehill is also having a magical year. Tannehill took over for incumbent starter Marcus Mariota after a 2-4 start and has helped turn the tables for the Titans.
Tennessee finished 9-7 on the year behind Tannehill’s league-leading passer rating and top-three completion percentage. Tannehill’s accuracy and efficiency paired with the explosiveness of rookie wideout A.J. Brown has helped the team rack up points.
While both offenses are rolling, this game comes down to defense. Tennessee started off the year strong, but cooled off as injuries started mounting up. With the return of Adoree’ Jackson, the Titans are in much better shape to keep up with the Ravens’ playmakers.
The Ravens lost a lot of key players this offseason, but retooled quickly behind acquisitions Marcus Peters and Earl Thomas. Thomas was signed during the offseason, while Peters was traded for during the season.
This game will come down to which defense can slow down the other’s rushing attack. If this game is close in the fourth, the special teams will be crucial to keep an eye on. The Ravens have possibly the best placekicker in the league in Justin Tucker, while the Titans posted one of the worst kicking seasons in recent history with 8-for-18 success rate.
However, Tennessee’s best player might be their All-Pro punter Brett Kern, who showed the NFL last week that he could change a game with his punting game alone.
For Titans fans, this is a rematch of a devastating 2008 divisional round matchup in which the Titans rolled into the playoffs as the AFC’s top seed against the No. 6 seed Ravens ledd by rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens shocked the Titans with a 13-10 victory that was marred by poor officiating.
The teams and players are quite different today, but Titans fans would love nothing more than to ruin the Ravens’ chances at the Super Bowl.