3 Keys to the Titans Upsetting the Ravens to Advance to the AFC Championship
The Tennessee Titans pulled off one of the most surprising victories of the season, upsetting the New England Patriots 20-13 on Wild Card Weekend. The Titans are now 8-3 with Ryan Tannehill as the starter, and they look like a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
Tennessee now has to face arguably its toughest test of the season, as the Titans travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. While the Ravens are hefty 10-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Titans can do a few things that could give Baltimore some problems.
With that in mind, here are three keys to victory for the Titans in the AFC Divisional Round.
1. Feed Derrick Henry
The Baltimore Ravens own the league's best scoring offense (33.2 points per game). At this point, it doesn't seem like you can stop Lamar Jackson, you can only hope to contain him. Thing is, the same can be said for Derrick Henry, who has 393 rushing yards over his last two games. The Titans' best chance in this one is to keep Lamar Jackson off the field, and controlling the clock is the simplest way to do so. Baltimore is No. 4 against the pass in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric, but the Ravens are only No. 19 against the run, so feeding Henry is likely Tennessee's best option.
2. Contain Lamar Jackson
Baltimore has only lost two games this season, and those were two of Jackson's least effective games. He averaged 9.55 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) in wins, compared to 6.29 AY/A in losses. For reference, 9.55 would be the second-best mark in the NFL (behind only Tannehill), while 6.29 would've put Jackson at No. 29 in this category, right ahead of Andy Dalton. Tennessee is only No. 21 in pass defense DVOA, so slowing Jackson down could prove to be a tall order, but the Titans have to contain him if they hope to pull off another upset.
3. Ryan Tannehill Returns to Mid-Season Form
There are no shortage of stats that prove just how dominant Tannehill has been since taking over as the starter. His 10.2 AY/A is the best mark in the league, he leads the NFL in passer rating (117.5) and his touchdown percentage (7.7 percent) is bested only by his opponent in this one, Lamar Jackson. But despite that impressive stretch, Tannehill really struggled against the Patriots, going 8-of-15 for 72 yards, one touchdown and one interception through the air. Things won't get much easier against Baltimore's strong pass defense, either. Tennessee needs Tannehill to return to mid-season form if the Titans want to have a chance to keep up with the Ravens' scoring and win this one.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.