It feels like it has been an eternity since the Titans last played. I believe that the bye week came at a perfect time, though. Corey Davis is back, Marcus Mariota is almost back to 100%, and Demarco Murray says that this is the best he has felt since camp. Also, the team had a chance to self-reflect, and figure out what they need to change in order to make a run over the next 2 months. This is where you truly figure out who you are. Remember, the Titans did not truly take off until week 10 last season, when they were 4-5, facing Green Bay. Maybe “Mustachioed Marcus” will lead the Titans on another November/December hot streak. I think we are all hoping that it starts this week!
Reasons For Confidence: Pass Rush, Turnovers, Health
Pass Rush: The Ravens’ offensive line came into the season banged up, and have lost more players along the way. Their best offensive lineman over the years, Marshall Yanda, is out for the season, giving Jurrell Casey a good matchup. Joe Flacco likes to hold onto the ball, and as a result, there are sacks to be made against this team. On the edge, Orakpo and Morgan will have to step up. I would not be surprised to see Kevin Byard and other DBs blitzing a little more this week, as well. The Ravens want to play vertically, and if this front can disrupt the quarterback before the receivers’ routes develop, the defense could win the day.
Turnovers: Alex Collins, who we will talk about shortly, likes to fumble. He is an aggressive runner, but with that comes a couple of fumbles every now and then. Also, Joe Flacco has thrown 8 interceptions thus far, which is trending towards Deshone Kizer territory. I could see Kevin Byard hauling in another interception this weekend. This may not be the 2000 Titans defense, but I am ready to say that they are an opportunistic group. Each week, it seems like the defense is able to make a game-changing turnover, and now they are facing a team that has struggled in this regard. It could take a turnover or 2 to win this one.
Health: As previously mentioned, things are trending up in terms of the injury report. Guys who have missed a lot of time are back, and guys with nagging injuries were able to use the bye week to get right. It will be interesting to see how this offense looks with a healthier Demarco Murray, and Corey Davis.
Reasons For Concern: Alex Collins, Run Defense, Big Plays
Alex Collins: Despite his issues with fumbling the football, Alex Collins has emerged as one of the better runners in the league. He is starting to look more like the guy we saw every Saturday in Arkansas—an aggressive runner, who can make guys miss. Everyone has seen his Irish dancing, but not many know that it has truly worked its way into his game. He one of the most elusive backs in the league. The Titans will have to wrap this guy up, and make things a group effort when the ball is in his hands.
Run Defense: We hear about the Titans’ run game every week, so I will spare you the repetitive comments. Anyway, the Ravens have been great at stopping the run when Brandon Williams is on the field. If the Titans cannot game the run game going, we may see another stagnant day on offense.
Big Plays: As previously mentioned, the Ravens want to win play vertically on offense. With guys like Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, and Breshard Perriman, the Titans’ defensive backs will need to be ready for the deep ball. If the Titans can limit big plays through the air, this offense becomes way easier to manage.
So Who Has The Advantage?
Running Back: Wash
Wide Receivers: Wash
Tight End: Titans
....Looks like a pretty even matchup. We will see you Sunday!