Ravens Offense Should Have Big Day vs. Titans Defense

The last time these two teams played was the last time Lamar Jackson lost a game. After missing one start due to COVID-19, Jackson has led Baltimore to 5 straight wins. He has appeared to return to his MVP form with one noticeable trend standing out: The Ravens are throwing the ball less.

Since returning, Jackson has averaged just 20 pass attempts and 161.8 yards per game. He had been averaging 27.6 and 194.8 respectively. Baltimore has recommitted to their ground game and the results have been eye-opening. The Ravens are averaging a whopping 267.4 rushing yards per game, with Jackson accounting for 86 of those, during their current winning streak.

The Titans had an answer for the Ravens a year ago in the AFC Divisional Round. They had somewhat of an answer in Week 11. Their goal was largely to neutralize Lamar Jackson’s explosive plays to the outside and take away the effectiveness of Baltimore’s various option runs:

Here, they took away Baltimore’s lead option with good discipline:

Tennessee held the Ravens to 3.9 yards per carry, and Lamar Jackson ran for just 51 yards on 13 carries.

One play that the Titans will have to account for is this run below; a QB Counter in one direction with the option of a sweep to the running back in the other. The Ravens have generated big plays off of this design this season. And while the Titans prevented any run from gaining more than 14 yards in Week 11, this particular play was close to breaking for a big one a few times.

Week 18 - Bal O vs. Ten D_REC
Screen Shot Courtesy of NFL.com Gamepass

Despite some of the success the Titans had against the run in Week 11, the Ravens can’t get away from their identity. They need to stick with the run because there were plays that were close to popping for big gains, as shown above.

In last year’s AFC Divisional matchup, the Ravens got away from their game too quickly. They didn’t stick with the run and quickly became impatient. Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman called more than 60 pass plays in that game, which is not what you want for any quarterback. They need to make sure they don’t fall into the same trap this year.

That said, the Titans Defense has been terrible against the pass in 2020, largely because of their inability to generate pressure on the quarterback all season. No pass rush means more opportunities downfield. The Ravens will (and should) take some shots like they did in Week 11, especially off of play-action:

The opportunities will be there, but the Ravens can’t get away from what has gotten their offense back on track. Their passing game is based off of their rushing attack. If they can keep their running game a factor for all 4 quarters (and don’t throw the ball 60 times again), the Ravens should be able to generate big plays on the ground and through the air.

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