The reward for the Tennessee Titans knocking off the defending Super Bowl champions is facing the team now pegged as the favorites to become the next Super Bowl champions. Derrick Henry and the Titans look to spring a second straight upset Saturday night when they face the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs.
Tennessee led 7-0 after the first quarter as Titans QB Ryan Tannehill found TE Jonnu Smith on a 12-yard strike midway through the period. It doubled its lead just 15 seconds in the second quarter, but surrendered two field goals to close the half leading 14-6.
Despite leading in the first half, however, the Ravens ran 16 more plays, had more than 70 yards and possessed the football for three minutes more than the Titans.
How to Watch
When: Saturday, Jan. 11
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
The Titans (10-7) quickly ended the plans of Tom Brady and New England to win a record seventh title, stunning the AFC East champions 20-13 last Saturday night. The combination of powerful running by Henry, who finished with a playoff career-high of 182 yards and a stout defense that not only shut out the Patriots in the second half but sealed the victory with Kyle Logan’s pick-six interception with nine seconds to play.
Now looking to make their first AFC title game appearance since 2003, the Titans face another stern challenge in the Ravens (14-2), who set a franchise record for wins and closed the season on a club-record 12-game winning streak to win the AFC North.
MVP frontrunner Lamar Jackson, who became just the second quarterback in NFL history to surpass 1,000 rushing yards while finishing with a single-season record 1,206, directs a dynamic offense that averaged 206 yards on the ground — the first team to do so since the 1976 Patriots churned out 210.6 per contest.
While Jackson puts opposing defenses under pressure on the edges, Mark Ingram is all about powerful running. In his first season after arriving via free agency from New Orleans, Ingram had 1,018 yards, as he topped the 1,000 mark for the third time in four seasons. He also added 26 catches for 247 yards and scored a combined 15 touchdowns.
Jackson’s development as a passer in his first full season under center was also pronounced. He set a franchise record with 36 TD passes despite sitting out the season finale and threw only six interceptions in 401 attempts, while completing 66.1 percent of his passes.
While the Ravens did not have a 1,000-yard receiver, Jackson found steady hands in tight end Mark Andrews, who had team-highs of 64 receptions, 852 yards and 10 TDs. First-round pick Marquise Brown also made sizable contributions with 46 catches for 584 yards and seven scores.
The Ravens allowed more than 20 points just twice during their 12-game winning streak and ranked third in scoring defense at 17.6 points per game. Baltimore ranked fifth against the run in yards allowed (93.4) and fourth overall (300.6) while forcing 25 turnovers.
Linebacker Matt Judon anchored the defense with a career-best 9.5 sacks, while midseason acquisition Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey shared the team lead with three interceptions each.
The Titans are 8-3 since coach Mike Vrabel turned to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback over Marcus Mariota, though Tannehill was not much of a factor in the upset of New England. He finished 8 of 15 for 72 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception, but even with that subpar effort, Tennessee has averaged 29.5 points in the 11 games since the switch at QB.
While the Titans did not sack Brady, their secondary did a good job on his wide receivers, who combined for just seven receptions for 68 yards. Overall, Tennessee limited New England to 307 yards and has not given up 400 or more yards since being torched for 530 in a 35-32 win over Kansas City in Week 10.
Baltimore stormed to a 21-0 road victory over Tennessee last season, but the circumstances were much different, as Jackson was watching Joe Flacco guide the Ravens offense and Mariota was under center for the Titans.
The last two playoff games between the teams have been decided by last-minute field goals, with the Ravens winning the most recent matchup 13-10 in the 2009 divisional round. The Titans recorded a 20-17 victory at Baltimore in the wild-card round in 2004.
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