We (surprisingly) have made it through the 2020 NFL Season and now the playoffs are here! This year introduces a bye for only one team, as well as three Wild Card teams per conference. The NFL Playoffs are always unpredictable and adding another team should only increase the chance of an upset. With this in mind, every team feels like they have a legit chance to raise that Lombardi Trophy in a few weeks.
In this preview, we’re looking at Lamar Jackson’s Ravens against Ryan Tannehill’s Titans.
These teams faced off in Baltimore in late November, with Tannehill’s Titans taking the game 30-24 in overtime. Tennessee was able to hold Lamar Jackson to 186 yards through the air and 51 yards on the ground. Mark Andrews had the biggest game of any Raven, while Derrick Henry pounded the ball for 133 yards.
This game had playoff implications, however, the environment is likely to be different this time around. The Titans were able to take the AFC South with an 11-5 record, and hosting this game gives them that little bit more of an edge. If Henry can get rolling, he’ll have the whole stadium behind him.
Baltimore Ravens Keys to Victory: Spread the ball to open up RPOs for Lamar
Lamar Jackson is the heart and soul of this Ravens team. Sure, they’ve gotten some great play out of rookie running back JK Dobbins, and Mark Andrews trails only Travis Kelce for the title of “Best Tight End in the NFL”. But if Lamar doesn’t play well, Baltimore doesn’t win.
And the Titans know that. They’re going to need a triple threat on the ground, as well as big games from Andrews and Hollywood Brown, in order to survive another week.
Tennessee Titans Keys to Victory: Get Derrick Henry going and keep a Spy on Jackson at all times
First and foremost, Derrick Henry needs to once again put this team on his back. After running for 2,027 yards and 17 TDs in the regular season, his 5.4 yards per carry will be necessary for multiple reasons. It helps the Titans move the ball, and sets up the occasional toss to AJ Brown or Corey Davis. It also helps to keep the clock rolling and keep Lamar Jackson off the field.
Speaking of Lamar, he can beat this Titans team in many ways. What the defense is going to need to do is keep a spy on him at all times. Force him to make uncomfortable throws, and take away scrambling lanes. If they can shut down Lamar, Tennessee will have this one in the bag.
Prediction: Titans live up to their name
Derrick Henry will get rolling, and the Tennessee defense will find a way to slow down Lamar. It will be a dogfight, but the home team will prove that their run to the AFC Championship game last season wasn’t a fluke. Look for over 120 yards from Henry and the Titans to march on to a 28-20 victory.
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