TITANS @ RAVENS PREVIEW – NFL PLAYOFFS (1-11-20)

CAN THE TITANS PICK OFF A SECOND STRAIGHT MONSTER UPSET WIN AT TOP SEED BALTIMORE?

 

VEGAS BETTING ODDS:  BALTIMORE RAVENS (-9 1/2) vs. TENNY TITANS   ~   TOTAL: (47)

TENNY TITANS #12 OFFENSE (139 RUSH, 224 PASS)  vs. BALTY RAVENS #4 DEFENSE (93 RUSH, 208 PASS allowed)

BALTY RAVENS #2 OFFENSE (206 RUSH, 201 PASS) vs. TENNY TITANS #21 DEFENSE (105 RUSH, 255 PASS allowed)

 

This is one of the most intriguing games I’ve handicapped all season. There are so many different intangibles and you can make a really good case for both teams. I’ll start by saying I am stunned how Baltimore has not been the talk of the league after the insanely off charts fantastic season they had in the regular season. They didn’t just have a great season, they completely dominated the entire league. We really only hear QB Lamar Jackson’s name when we hear Ravens speak but this team is loaded top to bottom. Jackson deserves every credit earned as he just was a Man among Boys this season, running it like it was a high school game and passing it with precision. I doubt we ever see another team rush and pass for over 200 yards a game. And then we have the Titans, who after the first month I was turning their games off as the Offense with QB Mariota and the OL and the play calling was as inept as I’ve ever seen. It was hard to watch. Then out of nowhere, a Dolphins reject at QB, Ryan Tanneyhill gets inserted into the starting lineup, and instantly it looked like a whole new 11 players on Offense. Tannyhill, since being made starter, was second only to Jackson at the QB position in the NFL. From a possible top 5 pick to now coming off a historic win over the 6x Super Bowl Champs, on their field no less. This is one helluva matchup we will be treated to on Saturday night.

Let’s start with Tanneyhill and the Titans Offense. Their final 7 regular season games they scored 35, 28, 21, 42, 31, 42 and 35 points. Nobody could stop them as the Passing game and running game were both clicking on all cylinders. Last week they somehow beat the Patriots with only 20 points from the Offense, no points in the second half and only 72 passing yards by Tanneyhill. SEVENTY TWO freakin’ yards passing beat Goliath? Not one person would ever believe it happened, nor was it possible to ever beat Brady and Company with 72 passing yards. The Titans shortened the game with excessive runs by stud RB D. Henry. In fact 34 carries by Henry kept Brady off the field (Pats only tan 59 total plays) and Henry just ran wild with 182 rushing yards. The Titans Defense didn’t sack Brady at all, but they did what they needed and kept Brady off balance the entire game. The grinded a Win out and that to me shows a tough team that can do it again. I will say this the one stunning factor I never saw coming was the Titans superstar young WR A. J. Brown caught one pass for 4 yards. This kid is a beast and has been just destroying every guy covering him. I highly doubt the Ravens can match that low total from last week again this Saturday night.

Next we have the Ravens who since week 4 (when they suffered their second loss of the season) have simply ran the table with 12 straight wins. They are (7-1) straight up at Home and the Offense this year scored 531 points and had a NFL record 3, 296 yards rushing. The only thing that slowed this Offense down a few times was bad weather. They had 9 of their 14 wins by 2 TD’s or more. They have killed the Vegas (and now other new states) Sportsbooks covering the spread 9 of their final 10 regular season wins. Those wins included wins by 18, 16, 21, 39, 34, 36, 17 and 14 points. Folks this was complete beat downs and the low point win of just 3 was against another #1 seed, San Fran, in a driving rainstorm!

EARLY SUCCESS I’VE NEVER WITNESSED BEFORE:

Baltimore outscored it’s opponents (128-31) in the first quarter this season. They came right out and executed their game plans to perfection and many of those games were practically over in just one quarter. 

STUNNING STAT OF THIS HIGH FLYING RAVENS OFFENSE:

No Ravens Receiver had a 100 yard game in the second half of the season. 

KEY 1 TO THIS GAME:

Baltimore’s Run Defense allowed only 93 yards rushing per game. Now they face off vs. the most deadly running back (D. Henry) we’ve seen in years. Henry is trying to be the first RB to rush for 180+ yards in 3 straight weeks. On one hand you say no way he gets close to 180 vs. this Ravens D, but this Ravens Rush D has had some cracks in the second half this year allowing 5 different running back to gain 100 yards or more. One thing you have to take note of is the 93 rushing yards only allowed per game by the Ravens is partly due to teams were so far behind early they had to scrap the run and go all pass. 

RAVENS TOP RB INGRAM UPDATE:

Mark Ingram had a banner season but he did suffer a calf injury late and missed the final game of the regular season. He will play Saturday night but won’t be 100%. It’s ok though as backup Gus Edwards is a very solid backup, torching the Steelers Defense in the final game with 130 yards rushing on only 21 carries. 

KEY 2 TO THIS GAME:

The Titans are now very solid Road Warriors, winning 4 straight Road games and by 21. 21, 14 and then last week by a TD at Foxboro. I can’t see them getting overwhelmed here to the point that just can’t compete.

TANNEYHILL TD MACHINE:

Titans QB Ryan Tanneyhill has thrown a TD pass in 11 straight games and in his final 10 games he accounted for 26 TD’s (22 pass, 4 rush). That number was second best of all QB’s in the NFL. The only QB with more TD’s in that 10 week time frame: Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. So you have the top two TD makers facing off in this contest. 

LAST SEASON THE TITANS GET SHUT OUT BY THE RAVENS:

The Titans threw up a goose egg with no points in a 21-0 loss to the Ravens last season. In that game the starting QB’s were Joe Flacco and M. Mariota. Titans stud RB Henry had only 21 rushing yards. 

SECOND TIMES A CHARM?

Last year in his first ever Playoff game, the Ravens QB Jackson had possibly his worst game of his career in the Playoff loss to the Chargers 23-17. He fumbled 3x and threw an Interception, as the Ravens fell behind by 20 points and just couldn’t catch up. Can Jackson shake that game off or will he feel the Jitters again due to the larger nature of this being another Playoff game? He’s not looked at all like that Player we saw last year, but you can’t really gauge a guy when he’s playing on the biggest of stages knowing a loss and you go home. Playoff time is when stars are born, and the average just seem to wilt under the enormous pressure. 

TITANS HENRY CARRYING THE LOAD IS MAYBE THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR:

Henry the past 7 games has been an incredible 75% of the Titans Offense. He’s averaging a wild 154 rushing per game in those 7 games. 

KICKING MISMATCH OF THE YEAR? WAIT MAYBE OF ALL TIME:

The Ravens have now and have had the best Kicker in the biz for many years now. Justin Tucker this season was 28-29 on field goals. The Titans will counter with Kicker Greg Joseph, who sit down for this one, has no field goal attempts this season. This is the biggest Kicker edge in NFL History.

POSSIBLE BAD WEATHER WATCH:

They were predicting possible heavy rains and high winds earlier in week with possible high winds of 10-20 mph. Now though it’s looking much better with a forecast even of temps in the 60’s. This would be ideal and hopefully it holds up.

FINAL KICK:

Well for bettors this one has to be as much of a head-scratcher as you can make a great case for both sides here. The Titans with Tanneyhill are simply a totally different team and one oozing with confidence. Henry running the ball like a Mack Truck surely gives you the thought that this team can play with anybody. They won last week over the Patriots gaining 72 passing yards. Hell they must feel if he passes for the normal 208 the Ravens allow on average vs. the Pass, they win by 30.  But this is a totally different beast as the Ravens Offense and Defense (both top 4) have been fantastic since week 4. Jackson is as big a force as we’ve seen in this league since Mike Vick and he’s been unstoppable all season. No reason for any sane person or sharp Handicapper to feel he’s going to be slowed down by the Titans #21 Defense. So this all leads us to can the Loaded Ravens beat the new Upset Machines by double digits. Not just beat the Titans, but basically beat them good. The Ravens finished the season slaughtering everyone in their way. Did the week off hurt their momentum or does the rest help with fresh legs, especially on Defense where they will need them to stop Henry from running wild again. I am not going overboard on credit for beating the Patriots. They simply were a fraud this year and weren’t going far this year had they won last week or not. There is nothing fraudulent about this Ravens team. They will surely be hungry after a terrible Playoff performance last year. These teams are both well coached. The Titans must avoid a bad first quarter. They won’t catch up if they do. The Ravens need Jackson to get off to a fast start and rid the jitters. I think Jackson has a great game. I think Henry has a great game. But I think the Ravens crowd will be the difference and sadly the Road ends here for the story book Titans. Ravens grab this one by 10 points. Yes right at the spread. If you want the Ravens you can grab (-9 1/2) now…but I think if weather comes out with a good nice day and no rain or heavy winds, the line hits (-10) all over. 

Enjoy this game as it should be really fun to watch and see if Jackson overcomes the Playoff pressure jitters and if Tanneyhill can continue to prove he is one of the best QB’s in the NFL.

Have a fantastic weekend and may all your Wagers be WINNING ones!

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