The Ravens fell to 6-3 on the season after a letdown loss on Sunday Night Football against the Patriots in Week 10. The biggest concern after Sunday’s defeat were injuries to TE Nick Boyle and DT Brandon Williams. Boyle will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury but it is unknown when Williams will return to the lineup. With DE Calais Campbell already sidelined, Baltimore’s defense could be in for a long day against RB Derrick Henry.
Here are five keys for the Ravens to bounce back with a win on Sunday and to get revenge against the team that sent them home in the playoffs last season.
1) Stop the run at any cost
It’s no secret that the Titans want to run the ball heavily with Henry. Baltimore’s defense will be tested without their two best run stoppers up front, but it is possible to help offset their absence. The Ravens must stack the box and blitz against the run to prevent Henry from reaching the second level and gaining steam.
2) Remain disciplined on defense
Discipline, or lack of, was a major issue for Baltimore’s defense against New England. Players were unable to control their gaps consistently and linebackers were constantly out of position in the middle of the defense. The Ravens can’t afford to leave gaps unattended against a RB like Henry. Baltimore’s young inside linebackers will have to remain disciplined and avoid biting on play-action as well.
3) Force the Titans into long third downs
If Baltimore can limit Henry’s yardage on early downs and force Tennessee in longer passing situations, then the Ravens have the advantage against a makeshift offensive line for the Titans. Tennessee lost their starting LT Taylor Lewan for the season earlier this year, and G Roger Saffold has been declared out for Sunday. C Ben Jones is also questionable to play.
4) Avoid costly penalties and mistakes on offense
Possibly the most frustrating aspect of Baltimore’s offense this season has been the constant drive-killing penalties. With the injuries on defense, the offense will need to step up to the plate this week and deliver. They won’t be able to do that if they can’t get out of their own way, which has been a major issue all season.
5) Run the ball
Despite regression from last season, the Ravens are still averaging more rushing yards a game than any team in the league. Long drives mean less time for Henry on the field, which is the goal. The Titans will be without their best edge setter in Jadeveon Clowney, and running the ball effectively will make life easier for Baltimore’s reshuffled offensive line that no longer has the help of Boyle.