“The Heisman Presentation”

AFC Divisional Playoff 

(6) Tennessee Titans at (1) Baltimore Ravens 

Titans: Always go with your first choice Christian. All week long, I had a strong feeling that they would make their Wild Card showdown with the New England Patriots a brawl. They had everything to beat the defending Super Bowl champs. That’s a physical offensive line, the strong running game along with a defense that can mix up their looks. The Titans were able to put everything together for the big win in Foxborough on Saturday night. Derrick Henry is a grown man. I think you all know the rule by now: You better have game if you have two first names. The last month of the season, he’s carried this team on his back. It’s a strong joy to see the running game isn’t a lost art. He finished with 34 carries with 182 yards. Entering the game, I said it was key the Titans feed their running back at least with 30 carries. Mission accomplished. I’ve mentioned the physical football teams all year long. Make sure you add the Titans to the list. They’re a group that gets relentless amounts of pressure in a variety of ways. They just don’t rush four nor do they line up in stances. They’ll have their defensive line up as if they were going to blitz meaning they love crowding the line of scrimmage to confuse the quarterback. They were able to hold the Patriots to zero points in the second half. The Titans have passed one test. It’s on to the next one on Saturday night against the top-seed in the AFC.

Ravens: I wasn’t expecting them to be this good. The Baltimore Ravens haven’t lost a game since week four of the regular season. After that, they were just locked in. They finished their 2019 season with 12 straight wins which saw some big wins over some big teams. The Ravens beat the Seahawks in Seattle which is a tough place to play, they handed the Patriots their first loss of the season, destroyed the Rams on Monday Night Football in Los Angeles and won a backyard brawl against the San Francisco 49ers. They found many ways to win games whether it was a blowout or the close contests. What I like about them is the brand of football they play. It’s physical. They’re hard-hitting and they play to dominate you in the trenches on both sides of the football. What else is there to say about Lamar Jackson? He’s by far the front-runner to win the Most Valuable Player award. In my opinion, he won it after his big game against the New York Jets which happened to be his third time on the year of throwing five touchdown passes in a game. This is a well-rounded offense that can run the football. Mark Ingram provides the veteran leadership for this offense. I’ll admit, their defense was concerning me at one point. What changed their entire dynamic was the acquisition of Marcus Peters. The Ravens look to get back to the AFC title game for the first time since the 2012 season. They’ll have to take down the Titans to do so.

Titans Player to Watch: Rashaan Evans– He’s improved his game tremendously this year. The Titans pride themselves on shutting down the run. This is where Rashaan Evans comes into the picture. He’s a tackling machine. In the win over New England, he finished with ten total tackles. Six of them were solo. Wherever the football is, he’s leading the path with his guys following him.

Ravens Player to Watch: Michael Pierce– Many of his plays speak for themselves. If you watch him closely, he has a release as if he were a defensive end. He’s very quick with his first step. Teams continue to double team him, he uses his pure strength and power to shed both blockers. Michael is also athletic. He can come in to bring down the ball-carrier. I see a football player with one goal in mind each time he’s on the field. That’s attacking the line of scrimmage.

Final Analysis: If you enjoy black and blue football like I do, this is by far the game for you. These teams are more similar than you think. First, they each play a physical brand of football. Next, they each run the football. Lastly, Ryan Tannehill isn’t the athlete that Lamar Jackson is, but he can move the pocket. This is an old-school AFC rivalry we have on display under the lights. The Titans must put themselves in a position where they don’t have to play catch up on the scoreboard. They can’t fall behind early if they hope to establish Henry in the second half. This will be one of the better defenses the Ravens will have seen in recent memory. Lamar threw eight first-quarter touchdown passes which helped Baltimore get off to strong starts. If Baltimore can do that, they’ll be in good shape to cruise in this one.

Prediction: Ravens 20 Titans 17

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