WILD CARD PREVIEW 4: BALTIMORE RAVENS AT TENNESSEE TITANS
BY ADAM GREENE
Almost exactly one year ago, 365 days ago in fact thanks to the Leap Year, the Tennessee Titans knocked off the Baltimore Ravens 28-12 in the 2019-20 AFC Divisional Round. The rematch comes Sunday and this time the game is in Tennessee as the Titans host the Ravens in our first Wild Card game of the day.
BALTIMORE RAVENS AT TENNESSEE TITANS (+3, O/U: 54.5)
Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.
Kickoff: Jan. 10, 1:05 p.m. EST
Thanks to their 30-24 overtime win this season, the Tennessee Titans officially have the all time series advantage over the Ravens, 13-12. Tennessee has won four of the last six match ups between the two teams but nobody cares about that. We only want to talk about the last two.
On Nov. 22, the Titans took the overtime victory as running back Derrick Henry once again proved his paternity over Baltimore like it was being read aloud on the Maury Povich stage. As the Ravens rushed to the back to dive face-first in Maury’s sobbing couch, Henry scored on a 29 yard touchdown run in the extra period to end the game. Henry finished with 133 yards and that touchdown. Ryan Tannehill threw for 259 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. Corey Davis caught five passes for 113 yards.
For the Ravens, Lamar Jackson passed for 186 yards and rushed for 51. He threw a TD and a pick. J.K. Dobbins had 70 yards on the ground and a touchdown.
That was a close game. Their playoff game last January was not. Baltimore was never in it and their lone touchdown came in the fourth quarter when the game was decided. Henry rushed for 185 yards in that game. Jackson rushed for 143 and passed for 365 but threw two interceptions.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (11-5)
The Ravens entered Week 17 with a win and you’re in scenario and, lucky for them, they were playing the Cincinnati Bengals, who were more than happy to accommodate Baltimore’s playoff needs. The Ravens claimed the 38-3 victory with Jackson throwing for 113 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He added 97 yards on the ground to become the only QB in NFL history to record back to back 1,000 yard rushing seasons. Dobbins had 160 yards and two touchdowns.
TENNESSEE TITANS (11-5)
The Titans found themselves in a similar predicament last week. A win guaranteed a playoff spot and an AFC South championship. A loss meant they’d need help to make the tournament. So Henry decided he’d go ahead and adopt another child into his family by rushing for 250 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-38 win over the Houston Texans. Ryan Tannehill threw for 216 yards in the win. A.J. Brown caught 10 passes for 151 yards and a TD. The defense sacked Deshaun Watson four times. Henry surpassed 2,000 yards rushing on the season and is only the eighth player in NFL history to do it.
Tennessee has to feel absolutely insulted to be seen as the underdog in this game. While Baltimore has been on a tear over the last five weeks, they’ve still only won three games against teams with winning record and two of those came against the Cleveland Browns. It seems crazy to say this in lieu of his stats, but Jackson is being misused and underserved by an offense that values his athleticism and running talents over his ability to actually play professional quarterback, something he obviously can do. That’s not something the Ravens have fixed during this win streak and it might be the thing that eventually messes up Jackson’s career. But all those are thoughts for the offseason, which Baltimore will be entering Sunday night because Derrick Henry is suiting up in this one and daddy is home. Titans 34, Ravens 23
Straight up: 13-3
Against the spread: 11-5
Straight up: 170-85-1
Against the spread: 131-125