A week off from football was torturous for Baltimore Ravens fans, but thankfully the bye-week will have us prepared for the Tennessee Titans.
Five more days. It will be five more days until the Baltimore Ravens kick off their 2019-2020 playoff push with a home game against the Patriots-busting Tennessee Titans. Five days until Lamar Jackson and Marshal Yanda and the rest of the top-seeded Ravens show the football-watching world what the 14-2 Ravens are really about. Five days until Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill and the rest of the Titans team find out what so many others have already learned this year — the Ravens do not take prisoners, and they love the bright lights.
I can’t take it. Not five more days. Not five more hours. I’ve been waiting for this playoff run since Jackson and the offense sprinted back on the field for that fourth-down conversion in Seattle, and it only ramped up in intensity following that primetime shellacking they put on New England. Each touchdown pass, electrifying run, coverage-causing sack, and team defensive picture after a turnover has just made the optimism flow like I’m a Browns fan in June.
See what I did there? The Browns often give their fans these counterfeit reasons for hope in the offseason, causing them to rage incoherently into the wind about how this year’s team is vastly superior to each and every one that has come before it and… But I digress.
Look, the top seed is awesome. Home field advantage throughout the playoffs is ideal. The bye week allowed Mark Ingram to receive an extra week of rest and treatment on his injured calf, some of the Ravens veterans to kick up their feet for a few days and the coaching staff to do a little self-scouting before their Saturday opponent was announced. All those things are great.
But this has been like the movie Groundhog Day taking place in your own life on Dec. 24 over and over again while you just know that you have a black Lamar Jackson jersey and seven pounds of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups waiting for you under the tree. You try to make due by soaking in all the rest of the weekend’s NFL action, and the games were pretty competitive, but it ultimately felt like you opened three packs of socks and a coupon for a free kiss from your mom’s aunt Harriet.
Now we know an opponent, at least. We know the Titans have a great running back in Henry, a reclamation project playing very well at quarterback in Tannehill and a talented stable of receivers on offense. We know they have some talent on defense, and we’re at least somewhat familiar with their scheme from the years of watching Dean Pees direct the Ravens defense. It’s really starting to take hold now, and we’ll all be analyzing the two teams leading up to kickoff.
But kickoff is in five days. The five longest days of our lives.