The Baltimore Ravens and the Tennessee Titans used to have a fierce rivalry, almost mirroring the current one they now enjoy with the Pittsburgh Steelers. When the two teams were in the same AFC division their games were brutal battles for supremacy. Individual battles between Ray Lewis and former Titans (and Ravens) QB Steve McNair (R.I.P.) and RB Eddie George were the best games of the season, usually low-scoring and extremely physical.
The Ravens run to the Super Bowl in 2001 included giving the Titans their first-ever loss at their new stadium in the regular season and then shocking them in the playoffs on that same field. But now they are in different divisions in the AFC and only Ray Lewis remains from that bitter rivalry between guys who seemed to hate each other on the field but in reality were close friends off of it.
The Ravens enter week two of the 2011 regular season 1-0 while the Ttians lost last week at Jacksonville 16-14. Everyone in Baltimore is still reveling over our 35-7 beatdown of the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, but now that is history and if they think the Titans will lay down today, they are very mistaken. However, don't worry as the aforementioned Lewis will not let that happen.
The Ravens players and fans remember how Tennessee RB Chris Johnson gashed them the last time they played and are prepared to not let that happen again. If Baltimore can hold CJ to as few carries (9) as he had at Jacksonville, they should be able to put this game away early. Getting a lead in the first half and forcing hte Titans to play catch-up through the air is the recipe for Ravens success and ultimately Titans failure.
Tennessee QB Matt Hasselback is not a bad QB but he will have a tough time against the ferocious and opportunistic Ravens defense. Other than CJ, the only true threat is WR Kenny Britt, who should get a lot of attention from the Baltimore secondary. Offensively, the Ravens are beginning to show their diversity in the passing game to go along with what appears t be an excellent running game behind a re-vamped and impressive offensive line and new FB Vonta Leach in front of RB Ray Rice.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco is enjoying the choices he has in the passing game and GM Ozzie Newsome is continuing to earn his "Wizard of Oz status for realizing that two athletic young tight ends (Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta) were better than a solid but aging one (Todd Heap). Between the TEs as well as his wide receivers and the running game, the Titans collective heads should be spinning as they won't know where the ball is coming from or going to in what is shaping up to be as balance an offense as there might be in the entire league.
Baltimore rolls but Tennessee puts up a futile fight as the Ravens open the 2011 season with another victory and stay atop the AFC North where they hope to remain for the rest of the season.