By Lisa Johnson //@LJ1303
We are headed into week two of the NFL playoffs. Saturday’s match-up between the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens will showcase two different types of offenses.
The Ravens have quarterback Lamar Jackson and his style of offense, which includes his dynamic ability to escape and run out of the pocket. While the Titans have more of a play-action pocket passer in Ryan Tannehill. Either way, both these teams will try to establish a run game. So expect a lot of smash-mouth, in the trenches, football.
It is pretty much no secret that offensively the Titans need to keep up the ground and pound attack with running back Derrick Henry. On play action, Tannehill needs to make accurate throws and avoid turnovers. The entire offense needs to manage the clock and keep Jackson and the Ravens offense on the bench.
Derrick Henry is a bad man.
The NFL rushing leader absolutely dominated New England.
35 carries | 204 yards
75-yard TD drive by himself
3/4 of Titans total yards pic.twitter.com/83WUz0tqsO
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 5, 2020
Defensively, all focus has to go to Jackson. His ability to escape pressure can be a nightmare for defensive coaches. Either way, the Titans must keep the Ravens on their heels. They will have to dare Jackson to beat you within the pocket. According to injury reports, it looks like Ravens running back Mark Ingram will be limited, which could benefit the Titans defensively. While the Titans will be without linebacker Jayon Brown, who suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s victory in New England.
It’s an easy game plan here. Defensively, the Ravens have shut down Henry, and that won’t be easy. When asked about Henry and his ability to punish tacklers, Ravens safety Earl Thomas had this to say. “Guys didn’t seem like they were too interested in tackling him,” Thomas said of the Patriots. “Our mindset is a little different. We’re going to try to swarm and we’ll see how it plays out.” They also have to put pressure on Tannehill and force turnovers.
Listed as questionable, Ravens’ RB Mark Ingram is expected to play Saturday vs. Titans, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 9, 2020
Offensively, the Ravens could be limited without Ingram. All reports indicate that Ingram will try to play. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Ingram “felt some tightness” and “pulled back to avoid re-injury” on Tuesday. Rapoport did add that Ingram “has a chance to play” on Saturday.
Head coach John Harbaugh was asked on Thursday how Ingram looked in practice after missing the past two sessions, and he didn’t sound all that optimistic that Ingram would be back to 100% for this weekend. “Limited participation,” Harbaugh responded, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. “That’s the definition of it. We’ll see how it goes.”
My prediction? Ravens 28 -Titans 14
Follow Lisa on Twitter @LJ1303