The Baltimore Ravens, like the Tennessee Titans, are returning to the football field after a deflating loss. Baltimore fell to the former laughing stock Cleveland Browns without scoring a single touchdown. The loss was mirrored by the Titans. Tennessee lost to the league’s current laughing stock, the Buffalo Bills, also without scoring a single touchdown. Each team, now 3-2, desperately need a win to reignite the fire of confidence once felt. Only one team can emerge as a winner this Sunday, however, and both teams are sure to play the best football possible. For the Baltimore Ravens to have the edge on the Tennessee Titans this Sunday, there are three key goals the Ravens must accomplish.
The Apprentice Must Become the Master
Before he became the defensive coordinator in Baltimore, Don “Wink” Martindale served under Dean Pees as Baltimore’s linebackers coach. Pees briefly retired in the offseason, but ultimately was lured back into coaching by the Tennessee Titans. The oft-criticized Pees’ tenure in Tennessee so far has been a success. His defense is ranked seventh overall in the league, and tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for third in points allowed per game. While Pees is having success in Nashville, so is his former pupil in Baltimore. Martindale’s defense is much more aggressive than it was under Pees. As a result, the unit is performing stronger and finishing games. The Ravens are ranked as the third best defense in the league, allowing just 303.8 yards per game. Baltimore is also ranked first in points allowed per game, giving up an average of just 15.4 points. For the Ravens to defeat the Titans on Sunday, Martindale must outcoach his former teacher and prove the Ravens have a better defense than the Titans.
Offense Must Overcome Titans Defense
Speaking of defenses, the Ravens have a chance to prove their offensive might. The Titans defense has great talent and is a force to be reckoned with in the league. Despite the defense’s stature, the Ravens offense views this matchup as an opportunity. While it is unlikely that the Ravens will blow the Titans defense away, the unit may be able to grab more points than Tennessee usually gives up. The Ravens are coming off a humiliating loss in Cleveland, marked by offensive miscues. The Ravens are very motivated to turn the corner against the Titans. Joe Flacco will spread the ball out through the air attack, and take several deep shots throughout the game. This will be coupled with a renewed attempt to jump-start the running game. The Ravens will play aggressively on offense, and that may be the key to leaving Tennesse with a win over the Titans.
Running Game Must Stabilize the Offense
In order for the offense to play well against the stout Tennessee defense, the rushing attack must be the rock the offensive attack is built upon. Alex Collins is coming off of a game in Cleveland where he played well at times but failed to be a consistent positive for the Ravens. Against Tennessee, he and the other two running backs, Javorius “Buck” Allen and Gus Edwards, must provide not only stability but explosiveness as well. The Ravens will look to increase the number of touches both Alex Collins and Buck Allen usually get. Gus Edwards will probably find himself on the field in certain short yardage situations. All three backs must perform to the best of their abilities.
The Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans will play in a close game filled, but ultimately, the Ravens will climb out on top. The defenses will battle it out for most of the first half. By the second half, however, the Ravens offense will overcome the Titans defense. Flacco will air it out and throw a touchdown to John Brown. Alex Collins will finally hit 100 yards on the ground this week, and also score a touchdown on a 20-yard run. The rest of Baltimore’s points will come from three Justin Tucker field goals. The defense will allow Marcus Mariota to score one touchdown on the ground, and Derrick Henry to score another. The unit will, however, force a Marcus Mariota interception, and a Derrick Henry fumble. The Titans will also score two field goals. The final score of the game will be 23-20 in the Ravens favor.