AFC Divisional Playoff Preview: Tennessee Titans @ Baltimore Ravens

By Ha Kung Wong

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

AFC Divisional Playoff: Tennessee Titans @ Baltimore Ravens

Time: Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS)

Open: Ravens -10, Over/Under 48.5

Current: Ravens -9, Over/Under 47

Tennessee Titans

Offense

6th Overall per DVOA (6th Passing / 5th Rushing)

12th Most Total Yards per Game (362.8)

21st Most Passing Yards per Game (223.9) / 3rd Most Rush Yards per Game (138.9)

10th Most Points per Game (25.1)

7th Least Giveaways (INTs & FUMs) (17)

Defense

16th Overall per DVOA (21st Against the Pass / 10th Against the Run)

21st Least Total Yards Allowed per Game (359.5)

24th Least Passing Yards Allowed per Game (255.0) / 12th Least Rush Yards Allowed per Game (104.5)

12th Least Points Allowed per Game (20.7)

10th Most Total Takeaways (INTs & FUMs) (23)

Special Teams

29th Overall per DVOA

Baltimore Ravens

Offense

1st Overall per DVOA (1st Passing / 1st Rushing)

2nd Most Total Yards per Game (407.6)

27th Most Passing Yards per Game (201.6) / 1st Most Rush Yards per Game (206.0)

1st Most Points per Game (33.2)

3rd Least Giveaways (INTs & FUMs) (15)

Defense

4th Overall per DVOA (4th Against the Pass / 19th Against the Run)

4th Least Total Yards Allowed per Game (300.6)

6th Least Passing Yards Allowed per Game (207.2) / 5th Least Rush Yards Allowed per Game (93.4)

3rd Least Points Allowed per Game (17.6)

7th Most Total Takeaways (INTs & FUMs) (25)

Special Teams

10th Overall per DVOA

Keys to the Game

  • The good news for the Tennessee Titans is that they went into Gillette Stadium and beat the New England Patriots as 5 point underdogs.  The bad news is that their reward is that they get to Baltimore to play the top ranked Ravens in the Divisional Round.
  • The Wild Card game would have more accurately been described as Derrick Henry and the Titans Defense vs. the Patriots, as Henry was responsible 204 of the Titans 272 yards.  None of this is surprising, as Henry finished as the NFL’s leading rusher with 1,540 rushing yards (1,095 of which were after contact) and 16 touchdowns, posting six 100+ yard games.  The Patriots were 6th best in the league stopping the run and still couldn’t slow him down.
  • More surprising was Ryan Tannehill‘s lack of production as he was just 8 of 15 for 72 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.  That’s pretty limited for a QB that ended the regular season ahead of both Drew Brees and Lamar Jackson in Passer Rating (117.5), and also had the 3rd highest completion percentage (70.3%) in the league.  That’s the highest Passer Rating and completion percentage he’s had throughout his 7 year career.  In addition, he had rookie WR sensation, AJ Brown.  Brown has been one of the NFL’s most impressive playmakers, regardless of experience, averaging 20.2 yards on 52 catches, plus another 60 yards on three rushes, having five 100+ yard games and scoring 9 total touchdowns, leading to him being graded the ninth best NFL receiver of 2019 by Pro Football Focus.  But in the Wild Card, Brown caught his one and only target for just 4 yards.  Clearly, this sub-par production from Tannehill and Brown aren’t going to work against the Ravens.
Ryan Tannehill Passing Stats – Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans
Year Tm GS QBrec Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Rate
6 yr MIA 88 42-46-0 62.8 20434 123 4.2 75 2.6 87.0
1 yr TEN 10 7-3-0 70.3 2742 22 7.7 6 2.1 117.5
  • The Ravens have the 4th best defense in the league, but are only ranked 19th against the run, even while allowing only the 5th most rush yards per game this season.  Henry should be able to take advantage of this, but he’s not going to be do alone again as the one major difference between the Patriots and the Ravens is the offense.
  • The Ravens have the number one pass and run offense in the league, and it’s 90% due to Lamar Jackson.  Jackson has the most passing TDs (36), the 6th most rush yards (1,206), 14th most rushing TDs (7), and the highest QBR (81.9) in the league.  And when I say he had the 6th most rush yards, I mean of any player in the NFL, more than Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones and the Ravens’ own Mark Ingram.  To quote a certain person we all know, Jackson is one “bad hombre” and as far as we’ve seen, there’s no slowing him down.  He doesn’t throw for many yards, but his percentage of TDs thrown when attempting pass was a whopping 9%, the highest percentage for any QB this season, and the highest percentage of any QB over the last 15 years.  And even when plays break down, Jackson is the master of the scramble (i.e. rushes on designed pass plays), doing so 39 times this season averaging a whopping 11 yards per scramble.  Good, bad or ugly, Jackson finds a way, and should continue to do so against the 16th ranked Tennessee defense.

  • Jackson isn’t doing it completely alone, though, as Mark Ingram has been a terrific off-season pick up.  Ingram had the 14th most rushing yards and 7th most rushing TDs among RBs this season and 5 receiving TDs, leading to his highest total TD output of his 9 year career in the NFL.  Of course, Ingram is coming off a calf injury, but is currently on track to play.  Gus Edwards isn’t a huge downgrade, but not having Ingram at 100% could impact the Ravens.
  • Keep an eye on Special Teams with Baltimore having the edge there.  Baltimore has a 96.6% field goal percentage on the back of First Team All Pro kicker, Justin Tucker, which is good for second best in the league.  On the flip side, the Titans have the worst field goal percentage in the league at an abysmal 44.4%.  Suffice to say that efficiency in the red zone will be critical for Tennessee.

  • In sum, Tennessee needs to contain Jackson and Baltimore needs to contain Henry.  On balance, that’s a tall order for Tennessee’s 16th ranked defense as compared to Baltimore’s 4th ranked defense.  Then again, the Patriots have the 1st ranked defense in the league and they’re all golfing this week.

Prediction

Ravens beat the Titans by a score of 27 to 14.

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