Possibly the hottest team in the NFL entering the postseason, the Baltimore Ravens will visit the Tennessee Titans on Sunday looking to avenge last season’s Wildcard round loss.
Winners of five-straight, Baltimore is rolling entering the postseason with an offense that is averaging 37.2 points per game over the streak. Their recent showings can be attributed to their ground game, led by quarterback Lamar Jackson and rookie running back J.K. Dobbins. Baltimore is coming off a 404 rushing yard performance in the season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, which set a new franchise record and was the fourth-most in a single game since 1950. Dobbins ran for 160 yards and two scores, while Jackson added 97 yards of his own.
Jackson is hoping to improve upon his turnover-plagued playoff performance against Tennessee last season, where he tossed a pair of costly interceptions and lost a fumble attempting to come from behind. Last year’s MVP accounted for an astounding 508 total yards (365 pass, 143 rush), but the Baltimore struggled to overcome a deficit, a problem that has bled into 2020. Jackson and the Ravens need to get off to a fast start in order to keep the entire playbook in play and put Tennessee on its heels.
Baltimore may be an excellent rushing team, but the NFL’s rushing leader wears No. 22 for the Titans. Arguably the NFL’s best non-quarterback offensive player, Derrick Henry produced just the eighth 2,000-yard rushing performance in league annals, again demonstrating to a passing league that you can still win football games on the ground. Henry rushed for over 200 yards three times this season. The record for such games over the span of an entire career is six.
Henry bludgeoned Baltimore for 133 yards and a touchdown when the two clubs met in Week 11, a 30-24 Titans win. Owning the league’s second-best scoring defense, Baltimore has the scheme and personal to slow Henry down this time around, but that is much easier said than done. The best case scenario for the Ravens would be to stifle Henry on the ground, forcing Baltimore to take to the air on their talented secondary.
The winner of Ravens-Titans will head to Kansas City next weekend if the Steelers defeat the Browns tonight. A Cleveland win would mean one of these two will head north to Buffalo for the Divisional round.