The Tennessee Titans (3-2) host the Baltimore Ravens (3-2) in Nashville Sunday in a key AFC matchup. Both teams are coming off of tough losses on the road against teams they were expected to beat. The Titans losing 13-12 in Buffalo and the Ravens losing 12-9 in Cleveland. Neither team scored a touchdown last week, but both defenses have been strong throughout the season. Despite those losses, both still sit firmly in their division races and a win Sunday would be huge for their playoff hopes.
Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
Time: 4:25 ET
TV: CBS, Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon
Offensive Player to Watch: TE Jonnu Smith
Delanie Walker was injured in the fourth quarter of the Titans’ Week 1 game in Miami. He hasn’t played since, yet he still has twice as many catches as his replacement, Smith. The second year tight end has struggled mightily since Walker’s injury, and the Titans offense has struggled along with him. Quarterback Marcus Mariota depended so much on Walker’s ability to get open over the middle of the field and in the red zone. Without that threat, the offense hasn’t been able to score when they get close to the goal line, leading to a lot of field goals. Mariota has been left with little options to throw to, and Smith stepping up would take a lot of pressure of the young receiving corps.
Defensive Player of the Week: LB Rashaan Evans
After the loss to Buffalo, Evans tweeted about how his natural position isn’t inside linebacker. However, that is where the Titans drafted him to play and where he has been playing the last few games. With Wesley Woodyard and Will Compton’s statuses up in the air, Evans will have to step up at the inside linebacker spot next to Jayon Brown, who has been playing fantastic. Evans has looked shaky in coverage thus far and has yet to showcase his ability to rush the passer. If Evans can start to get comfortable in the system and with the speed of the game, Sunday could be a breakout for the first-round pick.
Matchup to Watch: Titans’ Young Receivers vs. Ravens Solid Secondary
The Titans seem to have a problem with catching passes. Key drops have killed drives, and lost games, over the past few weeks. The average age of the Titans’ five receivers is 23.4 years old. This youth has obviously impacted the offense’s ability to find the end zone this season without a true veteran on the roster. The Ravens have one of the better secondaries in the league with two strong safeties in Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson. The cornerbacks are solid as well with former first rounder Marlon Humphrey and Jimmy Smith, who was just reinstated from his suspension. Tennessee has struggled against top tier secondaries this year. The Titans will need Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor, and Tajae Sharpe to step up and make plays on Sunday.
The Titans have been great at home in recent years. However, the offense has been very shaky this year. It will be a defensive struggle, like most Titans game recently. The Ravens offense has been a little more consistent this year, and will get the win Sunday.
Ravens 24 Titans 16