Baltimore Ravens vs. Titans Wild Card: Answering your burning questions
@IsaiasTalksBall asks: Is holding Henry to 150 yards enough to win the game?
Answer: No. If Henry gets 150 yards it means two things. First, the Ravens gave up way too many big plays on the ground. Secondly, it means that all the things that the Titans want to do in the passing game, especially with play-action and screens are way too on the table for comfort. Henry can have 100 yards and the Ravens can win. 150 yards will really fuel the Titans though. I’d love to have a more lengthy and impressive answer, though I think 150 is the danger point.
@PNBfans asks: The new guy has a question! Say you couldn’t watch on Sunday and looked at the box score afterward. How many yards would you look at next to Henry’s name and be comfortable that the Ravens had won? Aka, what’s the ideal but realistic rushing number they have to hold him under?
Answer: Welcome to Ebony Bird, I look forward to your articles. Okay, on with the answer. If I see that Henry has anything from 80-105 rushing yards, I think I’ll be happy with the final score for the Ravens. Look, the Titans have a lot of offensive aptitudes but Henry is the source of a lot of the fuel. If you keep Henry around the 100-yards mark all is good.
Henry isn’t going to be completely bottled up. That’s not just going to happen. The key is to make sure there is some resistance and that Henry doesn’t get to take over the game by himself. Keeping him under 100 is platinum level good, at 100 is gold level and just over is silver.
@GreatnessCalls asks: With the general analysis being to go conventional 4-3 with two high safeties, what would be another defensive personnel you would like to see used against TEN to match up with Henry and the WRs while also watching for Tannehill escaping back door.
Answer: That’s a great question, Eric. I do think the Ravens will use more even fronts in this game. For those of you who don’t know that basically means having guards covered rather than having Brandon Williams right over or shading the center. I’d be really tempted to see what the Ravens could do in the Big-Nickel package. Mixing a good bit of that in would be smart.
To keep up with the Titans’ pass game you have to have Jimmy Smith on the field (if he can go for this one) not just Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. You also need to be able to have enough power to stop the run. The Big Nickel package is the perfect blend if your defensive line steps up to the occasion and your linebackers and defensive backs are willing to be thumpers.
The Titans will be very tempted to pound the rock against a Big Nickel defense. If the Ravens hold up, they have Tennessee in a pickle. By stopping the run and having the personnel for pass defense the Ravens have the advantage.
Here you’ll have your three-down defensive linemen and either Matt Judon or Yannick Nagakoue acting as a defensive end. On run downs specifically, I would lean to a two linebacker grouping of Patrick Queen and L.J. Fort. On passing downs, I would replace Fort with Tyus Bowser, or have Judon move to linebacker and put Ngakoue as the defensive end.
If you can stop the run out of this enough it gives you the best of both worlds in terms of run and pass defense. The way that Derek Wolfe has been playing and the way that Campbell can influence things on the defensive line have me confident that the Ravens can win the battle in the trenches. That’s the key. The defensive line has to go to work and make this possible with this strategy.