We have an AFC postseason rematch this weekend, as the Tennessee Titans (6-3) travel to take on the Baltimore Ravens (6-3). Back in January, the Titans defeated the Ravens by a score of 28-12 in the divisional round, as Derrick Henry broke loose for 195 rushing yards and even threw a passing touchdown. The Titans defense also controlled the tempo of the matchup, and picked off Lamar Jackson a total of two times. Jackson has said that he thinks about the playoff loss to Tennessee "constantly," and now he will have a chance for revenge.
Both teams are looking to get back on track this week, as they found themselves in the loss column last week. The Titans suffered a devastating 34-17 loss to the divisional rival Indianapolis Colts, and as a result lost their first-place standing in the AFC South. The Ravens lost to the New England Patriots by a score of 23-17, as a torrential downpour worked in favor of the home team.
Before we get into the details of Sunday's matchup, let's break down how you can keep up with the action:
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The all-time series between the Titans and Ravens is tied at 10 apiece, but the Ravens have won two out of the past three matchups. It won't come as a surprise to anyone that the X-factor of this contest will be Henry. The Titans need him to dominate again if they want to win, and on the other hand, the Ravens will have to limit him if they want to get back into the win column. The reigning rushing champion rushed for 103 yards last week, and ranks second in the NFL with 946 rushing yards behind Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings. John Harbaugh will feel much more comfortable with his chances if he can put the game on Ryan Tannehill's shoulders.
The Ravens have a chance to get on the same page offensively, as the Titans allow 398.1 yards of total offense per game. That's bad enough to rank eighth-worst in the league this year. Jackson should also look to push the ball down the field this Sunday, as the Titans have the fifth-worse passing defense in the NFL. It's true that Baltimore has struggled to throw the ball deep this year, and it was a reason Tennessee was able to secure a win the last time these two teams met up. If Jackson can come out throwing the football accurately and make a few big plays early in this game, it could be Baltimore's battle to lose. Securing an early lead will absolutely be key.
I think the Ravens will get their revenge over the Titans this week. They may not look as good on the field as they did last year, but the defense knows they have to put all of their effort into containing Henry, and a motivated Jackson under center will help this offense get back on track. Expect a close matchup, however.
Score: Ravens 28-21 over Titans