The Ravens face a strong competitor today, as they venture down to Nashville, Tennessee, to face off against Marcus Mariota and the weapons-filled Titans offense. The Ravens defense looked rejuvenated last week, after bullying the Miami Dolphins, and hope to continue the streak. This time, though, it won’t be against a back-up quarterback, but rather a young player with skill in the passing and running game.
Baltimore Beatdown this past week has been on the Jimmy Smith train. He’s producing at an All-Pro level, and this is the game to really cement his mark. This not only falls upon Smith, as the safety tandem of Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson need to continue growing. Both safeties have received criticism this season, but against Miami, they performed flawlessly. I hardly mentioned Brandon Carr because he doesn’t need any criticism. His playmaking has produced a team-high three interceptions.
Brandon Williams is back. He’s getting back in the groove, and this entire team needs to tighten up. This team was expected to punish run-heavy teams and force them to quit. Somewhere along the line, they have lost this tenacity. Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray are a great tandem tailback group, and letting them run wild will easily create a loss for the Ravens. Clog the lanes and push this to the outside. When it happens, both Weddle, Jefferson and the linebackers need to swarm and lay punishment.
Contain Marcus Mariota
Nothing more crippling to a defense than creating a big third-down and pressuring the quarterback, only for him to break loose and move the chains with his feet or a deep pass. Contain the quarterback, and force him into indecision. Marcus won’t be easy to stop, and while this team usually performs well against mobile quarterbacks, today is not the day to falter.