The Baltimore Ravens host the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night, with a trip to the AFC Championship Game on the line. The top-seeded Ravens had last weekend off, while the Titans upset the defending champion New England Patriots to advance to this game.
It has been a long time since these teams met in the postseason, but one thing is very much the same. The running game is what vaulted the Titans to where they are. They took the Patriots down last week behind a strategy of handing the ball to Derrick Henry on virtually every play.
Henry is a tremendous back who is capable of bursting through any player. When these teams met during the 2018 regular season, Marcus Mariota got sacked 11 times, but it’s Ryan Tannehill under center for the Titans now.
Baltimore, on the other hand, did not fare so well in the postseason a year ago. But now it had the best record in the NFL for the first time in their team’s existence. The Ravens’ running game has been historically great, while Lamar Jackson has continued his domination.
This team won their final 12 games of the year after Cleveland dropped 40 points on them in Week 4. The Ravens’ defense is going to need to get to Henry to force Tennessee into long third downs where it cannot run.
Baltimore is a 9.5-point favorite ahead of the matchup Saturday night. The over/under is set at 47 points.
Looking To Take Down Another Favorite
The Titans have gone 8-3 this year in the games that Tannehill has started, with him throwing the ball well and limiting turnovers as well as can be. He has found tremendous chemistry with rookie wide receiver AJ Brown.
The offensive line has been able to keep them upright and get things done at an effective level. Dion Lewis ran the ball just 53 times on the year, so if something were to happen to Henry, the gameplan would really fall apart.
The Titans will need to drag out drives as the Ravens do to keep the ball away from Jackson while grinding time off the clock.
The Titans’ run defense allowed the 12th-most yards in the league as well as 14 touchdowns. It will have to be better Saturday night against the dynamic squad that does most of its work by running the football. It is a tough group to slow down, and that’s the Titans’ ultimate task.
Ravens Hoping To Fly High
Pittsburgh and New England are not walking through that door. But Baltimore is. If the Ravens can get this win, they will make their first AFC Championship Game since they beat New England in 2012.
Jackson is back in action and looking to continue his dynamic year. Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards will be looking to ground and pound throughout the contest, while Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews hope to be dominant in the receiving game.
The offensive line was stellar all season for these guys, allowing Jackson a little extra time before taking off to the running lanes.
The keys are simple. Ground and pound. Long drives. Slow down Henry.
Baltimore Moves On
The game will be a tight one, but the home team will move on to the AFC Championship Game. Bet Baltimore straight up or Tennessee +9.5.
Free Play: TEN +9.5
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