In preparing for Sunday’s matchup between the Ravens and Tennessee Titans in London, Music City Miracles’ Jimmy Morris and I sat down for a short Q&A for one another’s publications.
1. Looking over the stat sheet and I have to imagine Titans fans are frustrated with the play of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. But, we all know stat sheets don’t give the full story. So, what’s going on with Tannehill and the Titans offense?
Inconsistency. The Titans have an inconsistent QB and offensive line. In Week 1 it was Ryan Tannehill that let them down. There were two throws that if he had hit just one of them they would have won and his stats would look different.
In the Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Browns the offensive line was terrible. In last week’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the offense was OK but couldn’t get a touchdown in the red zone. Tannehill had a big miss but the real problem was the defense couldn’t stop the run. The bottom line is that Tannehill can be good when things are good around him. He’s inconsistent when they aren’t.
The offensive line was the biggest question mark we had coming into the season. They aren’t great, but they have held up pretty well for the most part. This Ravens’ defense will certainly be a big test for them.
2. Ravens fans have been highly interested in landing DeAndre Hopkins since he initially was traded from the Houston Texans. There were reports of mutual interest between the team and Hopkins this offseason, too. How has Hopkins performed as a Titan and what do you expect from him on Sunday?
Hopkins has been great. He runs great routes and catches the ball when it is thrown to him. He had his biggest game as a Titan last week when he caught eight passes for 140 yards. They need to get him more involved in the red zone because they have really struggled there. Nuk doesn’t have a touchdown yet as a Titan, but it seems like he should be an asset there.
As for this game, I am assuming the Ravens will stack the box to stop the run. That gives Hopkins chances on the outside in man coverage. Hopefully, the Titans run some quick-hitting stuff to him to try and get the Ravens out of a stacked box.
3.If you were the Ravens offensive coordinator, how would you scheme against the Titans defense? Where might you find the most success? What unit(s) should you avoid?
Well, before last week I would have said that you can’t run against this team, but after what we saw last week with the Colts rushing for 193 yards, maybe the Ravens should just line up and run it straight at them. I am going to assume Mike Vrabel and company will get that cleaned up. The strength of this defense is the front seven, but they can be attacked on the back end. X plays have been a really big problem for this team. If the Ravens can protect Lamar Jackson long enough for him to take some shots down the field, there is a pretty good chance they will hit a big play or two.
4. Who are two Titans players (one offense/one defense) Ravens fans should pay specific attention to in this game that aren’t household names?
Tyjae Spears on offense. He is a great compliment to Derrick Henry. He’s been really good with the carries he has gotten this season. His role in the passing game will continue to expand as the season goes along.
On defense, CB Kristian Fulton is a key to this game. He was really good for this team when healthy last year but has been terrible this year. It all came to a head last week when Vrabel admitted after the game that they thought about benching him. Now, there is a chance that he gets benched and doesn’t play in this game, but if he is out there, his play could be a big determining factor in how this game plays out. If this defense is going to be as good as we all thought it would be coming into the season, they need Fulton to be good.
5. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Ravens are 4-point favorites. What are your thoughts on this London line?
I’d have to bet on the Ravens if push came to shove here. The Titans just haven’t shown the ability, especially against good defenses, to consistently get points. That combined with the volatility the defense has shown over the last couple of weeks doesn’t give me a lot of faith they can go over there and win.