RAVENS (4-4) VS. TITANS (4-3)
SUNDAY, 1 P.M. ET, NISSAN STADIUM, NASHVILLE, TENN. uTV: CBS, DIRECTV 708
Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
About the Ravens: Baltimore unleashed some anger and frustration on the Miami Dolphins in a 40-0 rout in Week 8, both in response to criticism after its two-game losing streak and also because of a late hit on QB Joe
Flacco that knocked him out of the game with a concussion. Flacco was hit by Dolphins LB Kiko Alonso after a scramble late in the second quarter and entered the concussion protocol. With backup QB Ryan Mallett under center, RB Alex Collins ran for a career-high 113 yards and Baltimore’s offense, which entered the game ranked 31st, showed new signs of life. If Baltimore’s defense can return two interceptions for touchdowns and hold Tennessee to fewer than 50 yards rushing, as it did against Miami, it might not matter whether Flacco returns from the concussion protocol ahead of Baltimore’s Week 10 bye.
About the Titans: Tennessee returns from its bye hoping to find some momentum. After narrowly squeaking past the Cleveland Browns 12-9 in Week 7, the Titans took the week off and will return to face the rest of the AFC North, first by hosting the Ravens and Bengals before traveling to Pittsburgh. The offense struggled at Cleveland, but coach Mike Mularkey is hoping a few tweaks will
help QB Marcus Mariota and RBs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry find a rhythm. As unproductive as Tennessee’s receivers have been, returning rookie WR Corey Davis, who has missed the last five games because of a strained hamstring, could help keep Baltimore’s defense honest. Baltimore holds an 11-10 lead in the series against Tennessee, and the teams have split their last six meetings.
Matchup to watch: Ravens LB C.J.
Mosley vs. Henry. Murray is still the starter, but getting production out of Henry has been pivotal in 2017. The Titans are 3-1 in games where Henry has averaged 4.0 yards per carry or more and just 1-2 when he is under that mark. As the linebacker in the middle, Mosley has been a force for Baltimore’s run defense, and he’ll have his hands full stopping the Titans’ running backs.
Player to watch: Titans TE Delanie Walker. The veteran has led the Titans in receiving yards in four of their seven games, but he has yet to score a touchdown this season. Walker could have luck against a Baltimore defense that has allowed five touchdowns to tight ends and four receiving touchdowns to all other positions this season.
Number crunching: 40. Baltimore’s win over Miami was the most lopsided shutout in team history, besting a 37-0 blanking of Cleveland in 2000. KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Bye week: Under coach John Harbaugh, Baltimore is 5-5 in games that preceded its bye week, while Tennessee has the same record in games following its bye over that span. The Ravens are limping into their break, while Tennessee returns a few key players.
2. No fly zone: Tennessee’s secondary has held opposing passers under 300 yards in all but one game, the win over Seattle, while Baltimore has held opponents to fewer than 200 yards passing in four straight games.
3. Forcing turnovers: The Ravens are 3-1 when forcing multiple turnovers. Meanwhile, Tennessee is 0-2 when committing multiple turnovers and 4-1 when keeping the giveaways to one or none. 4. Slim pickings: Mariota will have to be extra wary of Baltimore’s sneaky good defensive backs, who love to gamble for interceptions. They’ve picked off 12 passes in eight games, best in the league. Mariota has thrown four picks in six games.
BRACE HEMMELGARN, USA TODAY SPORTS Ravens’ C.J. Mosley