Baltimore Ravens: Why the Titans feel like such a familiar foe
The Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans really make an interesting match up. There is history and a common style of football that makes the Titans such a familiar foe:
The Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans used to be bitter rivals in the days of the AFC Central. The 2000 Ravens had to get past Steve McNair‘s Titans teams. The Ravens played the Titans two times a year and had a rivalry that was just as heated as the Ravens games became with the Pittsburgh Steelers. McNair joined the Ravens in 2006, when the rivalry was fading from relevance; however his time with the Ravens will always be a link between these two teams. Derrick Mason may be the best receiver in the history of both teams.
The Ravens played the Titans in the playoffs in the 2000 season. They beat the Titans 24-10 in a game where they were big underdogs and went on to win the Super Bowl. The Titans got some revenge in 2003 when they won a bitterly tough postseason game in Baltimore. The 2008 Ravens got past the Titans 13-10 in a game that was essentially a throwback to the classic battles of the 2000’s. So this game comes with a lot of history, history that dates back nearly to the beginning of the Ravens time in Baltimore.
It’s not just the history that makes this game feel so familiar. The Titans play a style of football that is very near and dear to the heart of John Harbaugh and the rest of the purple and black. The Tennessee Titans have a young head coach in Mike Vrabel that has instilled a level of toughness and savvy swagger that looks a lot like the early days of the John Harbaugh era.
The Titans showed no fear of Gillette Stadium and the New England Patriot and they out willed them. John Harbaugh and Mike Vrabel come from different backgrounds however the way they go about the game is the same.
The Titans with Ryan Tannehill are kind of like Joe Flacco‘s Ravens teams. Tannehill has been playing well but nobody would take him over the other top quarterbacks in the playoffs. The run game is what stirs the pot for the Titans. Like a young Flacco did, Tannehill has something to prove.
The Titans aren’t the flashiest team. They have their moments, like when they topped the Chiefs in a 35-32 shootout, but the Titans are a team that often has to grind out tough wins. Including their playoff win, the Titans have been in seven one score games.
The Ravens haven’t played the Titans since last season (it went pretty well). The Ravens got 11 sacks on Marcus Mariota and won the game in a shutout. The playoff game will make three straight seasons where the Ravens have played the Titans. This is a much different Titans team than they were last year, but the Ravens can draw some things from 2018.
The Titans are an opponent that the Ravens can truly understand. The Titans look like they could be a year or two away from a championship, and they’re trying to steal one as the sixth seed in the playoffs. The Ravens have been in that position in the not too distant past. The Ravens made the playoffs five straight years to finally win the whole thing. The Ravens know what makes the Titans tick, because it’s the same thing that has always fueled the infamous chip on the Ravens’ collective shoulders.