The Tennessee Titans are the new Super Bowl favorites of the AFC with the Patriots and Colts both struggling. They are a better team than the Ravens right now, but I think this is a trap game for Jeff Fisher’s squad.
Tennessee is on the road against a hungry football team with an outstanding defense. The Titans strengths, especially offensively, play into the Ravens strengths. For example, the Titans rely heavily on their running game; but nobody runs on the Ravens.
The keys to a Ravens victory are similar to last week: pressure the quarterback, win the turnover battle, and establish the run better than the other team. But considering the Tennessee offensive line has only allowed 3 sacks all season, they are a top team in turnover margin, and they run the ball effectively, this will not be an easy task.
Two weeks after man-handling Shaun Rogers, Jason Brown, Ben Grubbs, and Marshall Yanda will have to do the same to Albert Haynesworth, who leads the AFC in sacks.
The Ravens skill position players will have to step up in this game, namely Mark Clayton and Todd Heap, both of whom have been virtually non-existent. Both will need to step up and make plays for Joe Flacco, which has not been the case throughout the young season. Derrick Mason can’t carry this passing attack alone, although he has been playing like a Pro Bowler.
“He (Flacco) didn’t get rattled,” Mason told the Sporting News.”He showed poise out there and that’s all you can ask your young quarterback to do. But we’ve got to help him out.”
My prediction: At home, I’ll take the Ravens in a trap game for the Titans. Kerry Collins will be under duress for the first time this season and will have flashbacks of January 2001. A key turnover seals the game for the Ravens.
Ravens – 19
Tennessee – 9
Pivotal Match-Up: McClain/McGahee/Rice vs. Chris Johnson/LenDale White. Whoever can establish a solid running game will win this game. So far this season, the Ravens (161 ypg) have proven they can run the ball better than the Titans (137 ypg). Also, the Ravens rush defense allows 69.7 ypg compared to the Titans’ 86.8 ypg.
Where it could all go wrong: Flacco commits more than 1 turnover. Injuries to the secondary leave the Ravens vulnerable to the Tennessee passing attack due to a lack of pressure on Kerry Collins. Haynesworth, Bullock, and the Titans front 7 are more physical than the Ravens and are able to shut down the running game.
Surprising statistic: Since 2003, Derrick Mason’s 464 receptions rank third in the NFL, behind Torry Holt (514 receptions) and Chad Johnson (473 receptions).
Last Weeks Winner: Jon R. reluctantly picked a 24-20 win for the Steelers. Actual score: 23-20 Steelers (OT)
Week 3 winner: EazyE picked a 23-13 win for the Ravens vs. Cleveland. Actual score: 24-10 Ravens.
What are your predictions this week?