The Tennessee Titans face a team that has given them some nightmares over their time in Nashville. Any time the Baltimore Ravens are mentioned when it comes to the Titans, people start replaying moments where the Ravens broke the Titans collective hearts. The biggest moment that sticks in the memories of Tennessee fans is when Eddie George was met by Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. George was stripped of the football and Lewis ended up taking the soul of the Titans on that play as he ran the ball into the endzone. The hurt from the Ravens is still here in Nashville and will probably be talked about until the end of time. Needless to say, the Titans are not the biggest fans of the Ravens and the hate for them is still here in the Music City. Going into this game, the Ravens are not exactly where they thought they would be. They are currently sitting at 4-4 but it hasn’t been the most impressive-looking .500 performance this season. The Titans, coming off a bye week, have to be ready for the Ravens to come in desperate for a win. And knowing the history of this rivalry along with what is at stake for them, the Titans better come ready to play. Let’s take a look at a few things the Titans could do to win this game.
1) Body Baltimore’s Defense
The Tennessee Titans are facing an uncharacteristically soft Ravens run defense. Seeing the Ravens associated with bad run defense is something we never really see. Along with seeing that with surprise, the Titans running game ought to see this with a wide grin on their faces. For the Titans, they have to take advantage of this weakness from the Ravens by punishing Baltimore over and over with consistent doses of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. If Tennessee is able to get good work from their offensive line along with getting their running game at least at least 25-30 attempts combined, the Titans will increase their chances to win the game.
2) Remember Third Down
The Titans were abysmal last game out against the Cleveland Browns. While it is easy to point to everything being bad against the Browns except the win, there was one thing in particular that was not good. The Titans were 5/17 on third-down conversions and it almost cost them the game in Cleveland two weeks ago. In this game (in which they will be playing against tougher competition), the Titans must convert third downs at a more efficient rate. Now they don’t have to get all of them, but a 40-50% conversion rate on third down is something that will make the Titans hard to beat.
3) Welcome Back Corey Davis
The Titans have been good in the passing game, but they have missed the rookie speedster. Davis has that unique combination of blazing speed and size that can be hard to stop. With the Ravens maybe having more safeties sneaking up in the run game, Davis could arrive back on the field from his hamstring issue with easy one-on-one matchups. With his size and speed, that could mean a dangerous weapon could be even greater for the Titans. Could we see Davis be the guy to take the top off defenses like people expected him to be? We maybe could see it in this one and if we do, then we could really see some explosion from the Titans that could lead to a win.
1) Make Flacco Dance
No, Flacco isn’t busting a move in the pocket while he is listening to the sounds from the stadium. While he may not have music to dance, the Titans defense can surely make him dance a little bit back in the pocket. Being that Flacco is not the most mobile quarterback, he can try to run but it will be to no avail. If Tennessee can mix it up and keep some pressure on him, the Titans will help themselves immensely because Flacco is less accurate when he has to pay attention to all the attention coming his way from the defensive line.
2) More Byard
When Kevin Byard was selected by the Titans in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, there were some that scratched their heads when he was selected. Flash forward to now and he just may be the best defensive player the Titans have so far. The talented safety had three interceptions and so far has been the defensive MVP of the team. For the Titans, he must show up and show out again in this game. The more he makes plays and is present in the game, the better the Titans defense plays. They will need him in this one most definitely.
3) Be A Brick Wall
The Titans have to get after Flacco, but they also have to focus on what the Ravens do best. At this point in the season, the Ravens rank in the top five in running the football. The duo of Alex Collins and Javorius “Buck” Allen have been making things happen for the Ravens when things have looked bad for them in the passing game. With this being the case, the Titans need to step up their run game defense. If they are able to stuff the Ravens, then they dictate what the Ravens do a little bit more. Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and linebacker Wesley Woodyard must be on time and present at all times. If they are, then you get a frustrated Ravens offense.
The Titans are sitting at the top of the division and can control their destiny. That starts with this game versus Baltimore. Will we get the Titans team that dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second half of their contest this season or will we see the lackluster performance we saw the Titans have against the Cleveland Browns? We shall see come Sunday.
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