Two 6-3 teams coming off losses will look to make up ground in a crowded AFC playoff picture as the Tennessee Titans visit the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. The Titans lost their most recent game 34-17 to the Colts, while Baltimore fell to the Patriots, 23-17. The host Ravens have opened as 6.5-point favorites.
Titans: Struggling Defense and Special Teams
The Titans punting woes put them in a hole they couldn’t climb out of against Indianapolis last Thursday. It looks like punter Trevor Daniel will be getting another shot this weekend, so we’ll see if he can avoid being mentioned in this one.
Tennessee has struggled defensively all year, letting up an average of nearly 27 points per game to go along with 408 yards. Their defensive unit is currently ranked 24th in the NFL.
The offense still runs through Derrick Henry, who has 946 rushing yards and eight touchdowns this year. Henry will have a tall task this week against a Ravens defense ranked third-stingiest on the ground.
Baltimore did just allow Patriots running back Damien Harris to rack up 121 yards, but the torrential downpour in Foxborough altered the game flow.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs to get back to connecting with star wide receiver AJ Brown this week. Brown had a pair of costly drops against the Colts, and the two couldn’t get in sync throughout. In just seven games, Brown has 478 yards and six touchdowns.
Ravens: Need More out of Lamar
Baltimore has not looked the same as a year ago, especially quarterback Lamar Jackson. Still strong and elusive, the highlight plays and big numbers haven’t been there. Sunday’s game against Tennessee offers a great opportunity for Jackson to get things moving through the air and on the ground.
On the year, Jackson has 1,762 yards passing, 14 touchdowns, five interceptions and 524 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
The Ravens filter running backs in and out of the rotation, and their most reliable receiving threat has been tight end Mark Andrews, who has scored five times.
Wide receivers Marquise Brown (32 receptions, 431 yards) and Willie Snead IV (25 receptions, 356 yards) will need to produce bigger games than they have going against this porous Titans secondary.
Trends to Consider When Betting This Game
The Titans, currently at +6.5, have the rest advantage in this game. Tennessee hasn’t played since Thursday night, while Baltimore played Sunday night. That is a difference worth noting.
When given the rest advantage, the Titans are 1-0 ATS. When Baltimore has a rest disadvantage this year, it is 1-1 ATS.
This is the first game of the year in which the Titans are a road underdog. They are 0-3 ATS as the away team and 3-6 ATS overall in 2020.
The Ravens are just 4-5 ATS and only 2-2 ATS as the home favorite.
The pick: Close game alert
Since a 5-0 start, the Titans have dropped three of four games on the heels of a defense unable to make stops. The Ravens haven’t matched their 2019 success but still have the weapons to score against Tennessee.
Baltimore has strong defensive numbers but seems to crumble against stronger opponents. The Titans have struggled, but this is still a 6-3 team that beat Baltimore 28-12 in the divisional round last year.
If Brown can make some plays and Henry can replicate the success that Harris had against this unit, then it should be a close game.
Keep an eye on a pair of defensive injuries for the Ravens in linebacker LJ Fort and defensive linemen Calais Campbell. The presence of those two is integral for stopping the run game, and their absence can explain some of the struggles they had against New England.
If those two play, I’d expect Baltimore to have success against Henry. If you shut down Henry, you can shut down this offense.
The pick: Ravens -6.5