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Titans-Ravens: AFC Divisional Round preview

Viewers can watch the broadcast live on CBS at 8:15 p.m. ET, Jan. 11 as well as stream live on the NFL App and Yahoo Sports app. The Backstory The last time these two teams met, things were a lot different. Marcus Mariota was still seen as potentially the guy in Nashville. Joe Flacco was…


Viewers can see the broadcast live on CBS at 8:15 p.m. ET, Jan. 11 as properly as circulation live on the NFL App and Yahoo Sports app.
The Backstory
The final time these two groups met, things were a lot varied.
Marcus Mariota used to be accrued viewed as doubtlessly the fellow in Nashville. Joe Flacco used to be accrued beginning at quarterback for the Ravens. And Mariota came one day of himself staring carefully on the Nissan Stadium turf almost a dozen instances after regularly working himself into disaster as the Ravens recorded a franchise-file 11 sacks in a 21-0 pick.
Plenty has modified. Lamar Jackson and Ryan Tannehill are now the two groups’ beginning quarterbacks, and they are additionally Nos. 1 and 2 in passer ranking within the NFL since Week 7. Each and each owns a completion share over 66, a passer ranking of no longer no longer as much as 113.3 and TD-INT ratios of virtually 4:1.
That makes for a excessive-flying postseason affair, staunch? Rotten. Amongst all playoff quarterbacks, Jackson and Tannehill reasonable the fewest passing yards per sport, with Tannehill’s 216.5 ranking honest a puny above Jackson’s 208.5. There could be additionally a bit of inexperience for every and each of the quarterbacks, who luxuriate in a mixed 1-1 playoff file. Oh, and neither are making great money when put next to their league-broad counterparts, with the two’s mixed wage cap hit of $4.38 million ranking as the bottom between two beginning quarterbacks in a Divisional Spherical sport since 2010 (per Over The Cap).
So this sport will come down to the quarterbacks, or maybe it will maybe perhaps also no longer. That is because each and each aspect boasts a just attempting speeding assault, with one coming from plenty of contributors, and the quite plenty of carried by one hulking pair of shoulders. Historical past is on the aspect of Tennessee’s Derrick Henry, as each and each of the three prior postseason conferences between a team with the NFL’s chief rusher and the league’s handiest speeding offense luxuriate in all been won by the aged.

Again, though, things are varied in 2019, and we haven’t even gotten into the two groups’ defenses. Who will come away victorious?
Under Tension
Titans’ defense
Am I joking? No, I’m no longer, but I’m very with out ache turning off my Twitter notifications until the conclusion of this sport.
Jackson is the runaway current to make a selection the NFL’s Most Precious Player Award, and for appropriate form honest. The 2nd-year signal-caller set aside of living the most exciting-season speeding file for quarterbacks (1,206 yards) and additionally led the NFL in passing touchdowns (36). He can clearly beat you with his arm or his legs. Nonetheless he’s fighting a 20-year bustle in which a team with the MVP has didn’t pick the most exciting prize of all.
The final player to make a selection MVP and the Gigantic Bowl within the same season used to be Kurt Warner in 1999, main the St. Louis Rams to a Gigantic Bowl XXXIV triumph within the Georgia Dome.
The team they beat? The Tennessee Titans.
The stress is on Tennessee since it has to derive a arrangement to pause — no, contain — Jackson, as properly as the leisure of the Ravens’ offense. Resolve into consideration these statistics compiled by the unbelievable NFL Study team:
The Ravens …
— Converted first down on 31.5 percent of bustle makes an attempt (most life like possible rate since 1940) — Had 9 games with 200-plus speeding yards (most in a season since 1978 Patriots, who had 11)

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The Titans will even luxuriate in an ace up their sleeve on this one, as they’ve been great stronger when they pair stutter-causer Jurrell Casey with rookie standout Jeffrey Simmons. Basically based on Next Gen Stats, Tennessee is stuffing runs at almost double its fashioned rate (30.1 versus 17.6) with Casey and Simmons on the subject and is allowing factual 3.0 yards per elevate when they’re paired up. The duo helped stuff Unusual England on a compulsory 2nd-quarter possession on the goal line, forcing the Patriots to resolve for 3 in what used to be a one-possession attain.
They’ll need stops esteem that but over again this weekend. Right here’s the tenth matchup of a No. 1 seed with the No. 1 scoring offense versus the No. 6 seed within the Divisional Spherical since 1990. No. 1 seeds are 8-1; handiest Unusual England lost to the Unusual York Jets in 2010.
That makes for a flowery going for Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who will meet a well-diagnosed foe this weekend in Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman. The 2 luxuriate in met twice previously, in Gigantic Bowl XLVII and in Week 1 of the 2016 season.
Pees used to be as soon as in tag of an ideal Ravens defense again in 2013, but it didn’t indicate up in Unusual Orleans on the sport’s grandest stage, allowing 7.8 yards per play to Roman’s 49ers offense, which featured Colin Kaepernick, who racked up 364 complete yards and scored two touchdowns. That time used to be within the discontinuance moot, as the Ravens came one day of a arrangement to complete a goal-line stand and defeat the 49ers.
This should promise to be a shut one. In Roman’s and Pees’ two earlier conferences, the games were determined by one possession. Put together for a chess match.
Ravens linebackers
We’re picking the 2nd stage of Baltimore’s unheralded but very efficient defense because its participants will be most accountable for cutting down the NFL speeding champion in Henry. We highlighted how such matchups luxuriate in gone for opposing offenses, but what about the offense-versus-defense matchup — you understand, the one who in point of fact issues?
If numbers never lie, Henry’s in for a fetch day. Baltimore allowed 93.4 speeding yards per sport this season, appropriate form for fifth within the NFL, but Henry hasn’t been fazed by such rivals. The working again confronted a top-10 bustle defense six instances in 2019, including playoffs, and recorded 75-plus speeding yards and plenty of speeding touchdowns in 5 of these six contests. He averaged 21.5 rushes, 111.5 yards (5.2 yards per elevate) and one touchdown per sport in these games, too, which system he also can no longer backpedal factual since the opposing stats declare him things will even be advanced.

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The onus will be on Baltimore linebackers Patrick Onwuasor, Josh Bynes, Matt Judon and L.J. Citadel to restrict Henry as great as that you just are going to be in a quandary to contemplate of. Unusual England couldn’t develop it, staring at Tannehill hand off to Henry 33 instances and grind down their defense, almost helpless in a apartment defeat. Can Baltimore forestall itself from realizing a identical fate?
Matchup to Gaze
Impress Andrews vs. Titans linebackers and Nickel kit
We also can purchase a need of matchups on this sport, but I’m leaning in direction of Andrews on sage of how crucial he’s been to Jackson’s success.
Andrews leads all Ravens circulate-catchers in 2019 with 64 receptions for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns (most amongst tight ends). Baltimore’s deep fetch of tight ends caught 125 passes for 1,522 yards, 2nd handiest in each and each lessons within the NFL.
This leaves the Titans on the tracks with a Ravens prepare of tight ends barreling in direction of them. Tennessee allowed 9 receiving touchdowns to tight ends in 2019, third most within the NFL on the again of the Cardinals and Browns.
A chief honest on the again of why these tight ends are finding success within the Enchantment Metropolis is on sage of Baltimore’s speeding assault, that will sever an opponent up by task of Impress Ingram (though his sport location is a group aside an stutter to label), Gus Edwards or Justice Hill handoffs, or Jackson keepers. All defenses should first admire Baltimore’s speeding assault sooner than caring about the circulate, leaving them at likelihood of play-action passes, which regularly goal Andrews, Reduce Boyle or Hayden Hurst. Add these tight ends shut to the head of the list of worries for the Titans and Pees, who will want to arrange accordingly if he needs to originate a revenge pick over his aged team.
Prediction
Baltimore’s multi-faceted offensive assault makes for the fundamental multi-possession dissimilarity in a Roman-Pees showdown. A two-headed assault of Tannehill and Henry tries mightily to support up, but within the discontinuance falls short to the AFC’s top team.
Baltimore Ravens 27, Tennessee Titans 17

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