The second match in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs comes from the AFC as the number one seeds Baltimore Ravens look to set up a home match in the Championship game next week when they host the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans have already been on the road and knocked off the New England Patriots this season so it is tough for them to go under the radar here. Baltimore watched on last week and should be raring to go here you would imagine.
You automatically know how good the regular season was for the Baltimore Ravens when they ended up as the number one seed in the AFC ahead of the likes of the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots, and now they will be out to remind us just why that status belongs to them. They have been an offensive machine for much of the campaign and that product has been backed up by a typically awesome defence.
If there is a question mark about them going into this match it would come in the relative postseason inexperience of quarterback Lamar Jackson but you would probably be clutching at straws if you thought that would hamper them too much. Another issue is the fitness of Mark Ingram. All the talk is that he will play but reading between the lines there is nothing to ensure he is 100% fit which could be a concern.
If the Tennessee Titans are not buzzing after a win over the New England Patriots away from home then they are never going to be. It wasn’t as though their win was a smash and grab either as they dominated from the start and deservedly won the game. This is a different test entirely but you’ve got half a chance when you go into it with good confidence. All eyes will be on them initially to see if they can back up the performance of last week.
One area of concern for those who follow Tennessee or who are thinking of backing them is that a lot of their success in recent times has come through the running back Derrick Henry. You would think that the Ravens will have scouted that and will come up with a plan to lessen his impact and then the ball goes into the hands of Ryan Tannehill and it is whether he can get the job done. They also need to come up with a way of slowing down Lamar Jackson and that is easier said than done.
This doesn’t feel like a close match to me I have to say. I expect the Baltimore Ravens to win this match and win it pretty well I have to say. The Ravens had the fifth best defence in the league against the run in the regular season and that could be a big thing here as surely if Tennessee are going to win the game then Derrick Henry would have to go way beyond 150 yards and upwards. The suggestion is that is unlikely to happen.
It then comes down to whether the Titans defence can keep Lamar Jackson under lock and key and I don’t really see that happening either I have to say. Baltimore aren’t likely to ease up too much after a week off and then there is always the fear that winning last week and the effort they put in will have taken too much out of Tennessee. When you weigh it all up and put it all together the obvious outcome is for Baltimore to win and do so by more than eight points.
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