Well, not many people would have seen this coming a couple of months ago. A Ryan Tannehill-led Tennessee Titans team knocking off the New England Patriots and heading to Baltimore to take on the NFL’s best Ravens.
Read that sentence again and tell me anyone predicted that in September. That’s exactly what is going to happen Saturday in primetime with a trip to the AFC Championship Game on the line. Will Derrick Henry continue to carry the entire city of Tennessee on his shoulders? Or will Lamar Jackson keep doing the unthinkable for the Ravens?
Titans Offense Revamped With Tannehill
A Week 6 loss to the Denver Broncos was the final dagger to former first-rounder Marcus Mariota. He was benched in Week 7 for Tannehill, and the Titans haven’t looked back since. The Titans headed into the next matchup at 2-4, and have been on cruise control since, going 7-3 to close the year and make the playoffs. Most of which is due to Tannehill and his superb 119.6 passer rating over that stretch.
Everything about this offense is different now with Mariota out of the picture. The Titans’ yards per attempt has increased nearly 50 percent under Tannehill to 8.2, mostly due to his 9.5 passing yards per attempt.
The biggest benefactor from that? Rookie wide receiver AJ Brown, who finished a stellar first year with 52 catches, 1,051 yards and eight touchdowns.
Not to be outdone, however, is Henry. The monster running back won the rushing title this season with 1,540 yards and tacked on 16 touchdowns in the process. Overall, the Titans’ yards per attempt on the ground improved from 3.9 to 5.6 from Mariota to Tannehill.
Undisputed MVP Resides In Baltimore
We’ve all heard it. The story in the NFL all season has been the Baltimore Ravens, led by Jackson. He has broken all kinds of records in his second season out of Louisville. He finished the season with over 3,100 passing yards and a league-leading 36 passing touchdowns.
He also had an incredible 1,206 rushing yards (leading the team) and an additional seven rushing touchdowns.
The Ravens’ retooled offense also features 1,000-yard rusher Mark Ingram, who came over in free agency last offseason. Breakout second-year tight end Mark Andrews caught 64 balls for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Also, not to be forgotten is rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, who made 46 catches for 584 yards and seven scores.
Odds And Pick
The Ravens are nine-point favorites at home heading into Saturday. The over/under is set at 47. Here’s a fun little tidbit: The Titans have hit the over in every game but two since Tannehill took over.
The Ravens have been at least nine-point favorites in five games this season and are 3-2 in such games.
The Ravens should absolutely easily win this game. The Titans have been quite the Cinderella story this season, but the Ravens are the best team in the league. However, a nine-point spread is big for this game and how the Titans play. The only way I see the Ravens covering is if they get out to a big lead early and force Tannehill to throw a lot.
I don’t see that happening, and that means the Titans can keep Henry in the gameplan and keep the game close enough. Take the Titans +9.