What will it take for Titans to upset Ravens?

Sports

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel works along the sideline in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the New England Patriots, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BALTIMORE, Md. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Titans can advance to the AFC Championship with an upset of the Ravens in Baltimore Saturday night.

The 14-2 Ravens are the top seed in the AFC and are a whopping 10 point favorite to beat the 10-7 Titans and move on.

Both teams enter playing some of their best football this season. The Ravens are riding a 12 game win streak, while the Titans have won 8 of their last 11.

The challenge is a massive one for a Titans defense facing a Raven offense that set an NFL record averaging 206 yards rushing a game.

“It’s ridiculous,” said head coach Mike Vrabel, “I just did the math, it took me a while. Not in this league. I thought it was going to be – you sit there and you’re like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to see what they’re doing because we didn’t have a whole lot carryover.’ I’m sure it’d fun to watch. It’s not fun to prepare for, but we’re excited. We’re excited about the challenge, to go out and play, to continue to play football.”

The Ravens run attack is spearheaded by quarterback Lamar Jackson who went off for a ridiculous 1200 yards this season while throwing for 3000 yards and a league-leading 36 touchdowns. He is a slam dunk to win the MVP award.

Vrabel said Jackson is a unique challenge, “Anytime that you have a quarterback, and especially a scheme that forces you to defend the entire field, both laterally and horizontally, it takes a lot of discipline, it takes guys being good tackles, sound tacklers, swarming to the football. It’s a huge challenge.”

The Ravens are averaging an NFL best 33 points per game, while the Titans are 4th in the AFC at 25.1 points per game.

The Titans Derrick Henry led the NFL rushing for 1,540 yards this season, but faces a Ravens defense giving up less than 100 yards a game.

It’s also a Ravens defense that has faced the fewest rushes in the league and that will be put to the test by Henry who has carried the ball over 30 times each of the last two games.

The Titans also have to get more from quarterback Ryan Tannehill who threw for only 72 yards in last week’s win in Foxboro.

Tannehill did not sound like his confidence took any kind of a hit on Tuesday, “We knew going in that it was a tough defense and we were going to run the football. We ran it a lot, and it was successful for us, and Derrick (Henry) and the O-line did a great job. So, just kind of how the game played out. Obviously, look to be more balanced and get the ball in the air a little more this week, but every game is a little different. We’ll see how it plays out.”

Tannehill needs help from an offensive line that surrendered 11 sacks to the to the Ravens last season. It has been considerably better to finish this year giving up only 8 sacks the last 5 games.

He also needs young receivers Corey Davis and AJ Brown to get off pressure at the line of scrimmage and win quickly. That will not be easy against Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters.

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