The playoff byes have past headed into the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. After upsetting the Patriots in the Wild Card round, the Tennessee Titans have an even larger task at hand as they head to Baltimore to face off against the top-seeded Ravens.
It’ll be the highest-scoring offense from the first half of the season in the Ravens against the highest-scoring offense from the second half in the Titans.
Derrick Henry and his over 200 scrimmage yards led the Titans past Tom Brady and the Pats last week. Many thought it might be Brady’s last game, or at least his last as a member of the Patriots, at home. From the sound of Brady’s press conference, he’s far from done.
The Ravens are coming in off a Week 17 win over the division-rival Steelers in a game in which Baltimore rested most of its starters. Check out our betting preview of what should be an exciting playoff contest.
Hot At The Right Time
Tennessee picked a great time in the season to get red hot. Since Tannehill has taken over as starter, the Titans are 8-3 overall. Tannehill is coming off a month where he won the NFL’s offensive player of the month award. It’s likely the best statistical month of his career.
Tannehill has made rookie wideout A.J. Brown his number one target, and a formidable one. Brown ranked second in the NFL during the regular season in yards per catch.
The primary reason that the Titans are alive and well in the divisional round is running back Derrick Henry, who racked up 182 yards on the ground against the vaunted Pats defense. He came up with a catch for 22 yards as well, putting him over 200 with a touchdown on the night, not to mention countless first downs.
Henry averaged 5.4 yards per carry against the Patriots, so there’s no reason he can’t have a repeat performance against a defense that isn’t quite as flashy.
Not Bad For A Running Back
Lamar Jackson has led his Ravens to the playoffs and a first-round bye, and as he said earlier in the season, not too bad for a “running back.” Which was, of course, what scouts touted him as coming into the draft.
It looks like Jackson will be quite the NFL starter at quarterback, not only setting a new record for rushing yards from his position but accurately throwing for over 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Running back Mark Ingram will return to action after a minor late-season injury this weekend. When Jackson hasn’t been able to pick up the first down, it’s been Ingram by his side who can.
When the rushing game can’t get it done, Jackson’s favorite target, Mark Andrews, at tight end has been able to get the job done. Andrews ranked fifth in yards amongst all tight ends during the regular season with 852.
Slim Chance, But A Chance
The Titans may just be the right team at the right time to beat the Ravens, but it would be a heck of a task. If they score the way they did in the second half of the season, they should be able to stay within striking distance, though.
The Ravens are favored by nine headed into the matchup, with an over/under of 47. The Ravens are 10-6 against the spread this season, while the Titans are 9-7. Both teams have pretty evenly covered this season, but who will get the job done this week?