Ravens set for playoff rematch with Titans: 3 early thoughts
Here are three early Baltimore Ravens thoughts for their rematch with the Titans:
1. The Baltimore Ravens have the advantage of being an underdog:
The Baltimore Ravens have an advantage in this game. The narrative beforehand favors the Tennessee Titans. The Titans knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs last year. The Titans came back and beat the Ravens in the regular season. Tennessee is the home team this time and the Titans knocked Lamar Jackson and company down twice in Baltimore. Fine. Let’s subvert this narrative for a second.
Playing a game on the road isn’t what it used to be. It’s not like Tennessee will have a roaring crowd and a packed stadium, it’s 2021 now but we have the same global pandemic. It’s not quite a neutral field but let’s not act like going down to Nashville is going to be a huge disadvantage for John Harbaugh’s team.
In fact, playing in Tennessee is a bit of fresh air for this renewed rivalry. The Ravens won’t be at the scene of the crime. They’re not protecting their home field, they’re trying to kick the doors down of their opponent’s house.
Now the Ravens are the underdog without the expectations of being the number one seed. The pressure is different. They don’t have to get tight worried about ruining the most fun season in franchise history; they suddenly aren’t expected to win it all.
The Tennessee Titans will have a high level of confidence in this game. Why shouldn’t they? This is round three of this fight and we know all too well how the first two sessions went. Here’s the thing, the Ravens have never played their best football against this version of the Titans. In the playoff game a year ago the Ravens lost their identity and quite frankly panicked. In the regular season contest, the Ravens folded and were in the middle of a tough stretch.
The Ravens also weren’t at full strength in their last game with Tennessee. The Ravens will go into the playoff game with Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe ready for a showdown with Derrick Henry. Yannick Ngakoue has heated up and the defense is starting to gel back together. Offensively, the Ravens are a completely different team. The offensive line is playing better and the run game is starting to dominate again.
The idea that the Titans are the one team the Ravens don’t want to see is an advantage. The fact is that we’re forgetting the Ravens had an 11 point lead in the fourth quarter on Tennessee when they weren’t exactly playing like a well-oiled machine. Baltimore should hope that Mike Vrabel and company think this will be like the last two games. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest this will be different. The Ravens are in a much better place right now and don’t have the same kind of pressure as last year.