Last weekend, the NFL playoffs threw a number of people for a loop. Three of four road teams won. The Titans pulled an upset that many saw coming and Tennessee will look to do it again in Baltimore on Saturday night. It will not be easy. In fact, it might not be possible at all.
Game: Tennessee Titans (10-7, 10-7 ATS) at Baltimore Ravens (14-2, 10-5-1 ATS)
When: 8:15 PM ET, Saturday, January 11, 2020
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
Current Line: BAL -10 Total: 47 Americasbookie
TV Coverage: CBS
In the grand scheme of things, Tennessee’s win as a No. 6 seed is remarkable. The Titans beat a Patriots team that had been to the last eight straight AFC championship games.
Despite going 4-4 over the second half of the regular season, New England was still the same dynasty that won two of the last three Super Bowls. Tennessee gave New England a heavy dose of RB Derrick Henry (182 yards rushing) and shut down a rather mundane Patriots offense for the win.
The win is notable since it was the eighth victory by a No. 6 seed in the AFC or NFC playoffs since 2013. No. 6 seeds are 8-4 in that time span. Here’s the thing though. None of those eight teams won their next game.
Tennessee’s next opponent is, of course, No. 1 seed Baltimore.
The Ravens have the highest-scoring offense in the NFL led by the likely league MVP in QB Lamar Jackson. The second-year pro became the first player in NFL history to throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000. Jackson set the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season with 1,206. He also accounted for 43 touchdowns.
While Jackson gets most of the hype, he’s not the only piece in the Ravens’ puzzle. RB Mark Ingram is back and healthy after sitting out Week 17 as is TE Mark Andrews, the team’s leading receiver.
Baltimore is not just about Jackson and the offense either. Too many forget that the Ravens are extremely good on defense.
Baltimore was third in the league in scoring defense, holding opponents to 17.6 points per game. The Ravens ranked fourth in total defense (300.6 ypg), fifth against the run (93.4) and sixth against the pass (207.2). Over the final three weeks of the regular season, Baltimore held its opponents to an average of just 156 passing yards a game.
This is notable since Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill was virtually off the charts since taking over the starting job. With Henry running all over the place last week, Tannehill only attempted 15 passes. Does Coach Rick really trust Tannehill to overcome the Baltimore defense?
Well, here’s the big stat and the one that could prove to be the difference on Saturday.
Baltimore ranked third in red zone defense allowing teams touchdowns only 47.7 percent of the time they entered the crucial area of the field. Yes, I know that Tennessee ranked first in red zone efficiency on offense, but…Jackson or Tannehill?
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If the future MVP isn’t enough for you, how about this? The Ravens are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games and they are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games against AFC opponents. Ten points too much to lay for you? The Ravens won nine games by more than nine points this season. They can handle it.
NFL Free Pick Against the Spread: Ravens -10
Pick by Coach Rick