In a rematch of an AFC playoff clash of a season ago, the Tennessee Titans will take on the Baltimore Ravens in a Week 11 contest on Sunday.
The Ravens and Titans both suffered disappointing Week 10 defeats. The Ravens, according to top pph sportsbook site realbookies.com, were seven-point favorites over the 3-5 New England Patriots.
The Ravens were hoping to stay within striking distance of the AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers. It didn’t work out that way, as the Patriots were able to hold the Ravens to 115 rushing yards, 50 below their average. The 23-17 upset loss left Baltimore at 6-3 and three games behind undefeated Pittsburgh.
In the opening game of the week, the Titans were dominated by Indianapolis, 34-17, in a game that was a tossup at kickoff. Derrick Henry, the second leading rusher in the NFL, went for his average, but the Titans defense seemed overwhelmed by the Colts offense. The loss dropped Tennessee into a 6-3 tie with the Colts atop the AFC South.
Titans in a Tailspin
Tennessee opened the season with five consecutive victories but has stumbled with losses in three of its last four games. The slide began with a 27-24 loss to the Steelers, and a hungry Ravens team is not likely to make it easy for the Titans to turn things around.
The Titans rely heavily on the rushing of Henry to make it easier for quarterback Ryan Tannehill to execute in the passing game. The Colts were able to stuff the run early and put pressure on Tannehill to beat them through the air. It didn’t work very well.
Four of Tennessee’s first five wins were by an average of three points, allowing its mediocre defense to go overlooked. The Titans currently ranked 25th in total yards allowed and 28th in pass defense. They’ve given up at least 30 points five times in 2020, so unless they can get the offense clicking on all cylinders, they have big problems.
Before the season began, the Ravens were the favorites to win the AFC and get to the Super Bowl. Losses to the 8-1 Chiefs and 9-0 Steelers have knocked them down the list a bit, but they still have a defense capable of getting them on a run.
They lead the league in scoring defense and have a great offensive threat in quarterback Lamar Jackson. The weakness for the Ravens has been their anemic passing offense, averaging 184 yards a game and ranked 31st in the league. Jackson has been efficient, but he’s only averaging 11 yards per completion, failing to stretch defenses.
While strong, the Ravens defense hasn’t been as dominant as last year, ranked a very good eighth in the league. Either they need to generate more offense, or the defense has to step up its play to another level, especially against the run.
A terrific handicapper site Gameadvisers, has the host Ravens as 6.5-point favorites, and the over/under is a fairly low 47 points. On the moneyline, the Titans have odds of +220 while Baltimore is at -270. On the season, the Titans are 3-6 against the spread, while the Ravens come in at 4-5.
Against the over/under number, Titans games are 6-2-1, primarily because of the overrated Tennessee defense. Ravens games have ended up 3-6 in the over/under, mostly due to Baltimore’s 22nd-ranked offense.
Game Preview and Pick
In last year’s AFC playoffs, the Titans shocked the Ravens 28-12 as double-digit underdogs. The Ravens gained 530 yards in that game but turned the ball over three times and failed to convert on four fourth-down tries.
Both of these teams average about 27 points a game, but the Titans are giving up almost that amount as well. Baltimore is allowing just over 18 points a game, and that should be a big difference in this contest. For the Titans to win, they’ll need to put up a score in the mid to high 20s, a difficult prospect against the Ravens.
The Titans are struggling, and their defense will probably allow Jackson to find his groove. Take Ravens, lay the points, and go with the over.
Free Pick: Ravens -6.5