NFL Wildcard Weekend: Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens Preview, Odds, and Predictions!
Both of these run heavy offenses are set to go toe-to-toe in the Wildcard round in the NFL playoffs. The Tennessee Titans will host the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC showdown that should be the closest game in the NFL this weekend... so let's dive into this matchup.
Tennessee Titans (+160) vs. Baltimore Ravens (-180)... Spread: Ravens (-3.5) The Ravens are surging at the right time as the playoffs are set to begin this weekend. Despite falling short to the reigning AFC North champs, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens were able to turn their season around as they were sitting outside of a playoff spot late in the season. They capped off their 2020 season going 5-0 over the last 5 games. So that means the Ravens are back right? Wrong. QB Lamar Jackson has been a choke artist in the playoffs and season success and/or stats means nothing when the playoffs come around. Also, the Ravens 5 game winning streak to conclude the season included 4 wins over non-playoff teams. So, the Ravens hype train is gaining steam right now, but we need to slow down and look at their recent opponents as they beat the likes of the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns. Also, we shouldn't forget either that the Titans absolutely destroyed the Ravens in the playoffs last year. The Ravens should have the defensive edge in this game, so it will be up to Jackson to not only be dominant in the running game, but also prove that he can throw at an NFL level. If the Ravens fall behind in this game, I have little confidence that Jackson can operate a 'pass-first' offense to catch up.
The Titans ended their season with a win in a 41-38 thriller against the Houston Texans. With that win, they claimed the top spot in the AFC South and solidified a home game for Wildcard weekend. The only downside to this is that they were the 4th place team and have to face the best wildcard team in the first round. The Titans finished the season off with a 11-5 record led by the dominant and historical season put together by RB Derrick Henry. Mr. 2000 and the Titans offense have been consistent in putting up big numbers on the scoreboard in the 2020-2021 season. However, the Titans defense in this game will be the x-factor because if they play soft and passive all game it will be a long night for them. But, the Titans defeated the Ravens 30-24 in their only meeting this year and that should give them confidence that they can contain Jackson and the Ravens offense.
The Titans are definitely getting disrespected in this spot as they are underdogs, especially with King Henry in the backfield. If the Titans can jump on the Ravens early, they can grind them out on the ground with Henry and squeak out a victory at home. I think the Titans are being undervalued here and the recency bias of the surging Ravens is what has them favoured in this game. Let's go with the dogs here and take the Titans for keep it close with the +3.5 spread, and I wouldn't be surprised if they came away with the win.
Prediction: Titans +3.5 (-110)