Scouting report

October 10, 1999|By Mike Preston

Ravens run offense vs. Titans run defense - EDGE RAVENS

Led by Errict Rhett, Ravens have the No. 8 run offense in the league, and the Titans have the No. 23 run defense, so it doesn't appear that Tennessee can slow them down. The Ravens should be able to run inside with guards Jeff Blackshear and Everett Lindsay dominating defensive tackles John Thornton and Jason Fisk. Center Jeff Mitchell will have no problem getting to middle linebacker Barron Wortham.

Ravens pass offense vs. Titans pass defense - EDGE TITANS

The nearest thing the Ravens have to a go-to receiver is Qadry Ismail. As a group, the receivers don't get much separation from their counterparts in the secondary and will have problems against Tennessee cornerbacks Denard Walker and Samari Rolle and safeties Blaine Bishop and Marcus Robertson. The Titans have a lot of depth and are ranked 13th in the league in pass defense.

Titans run offense vs. Ravens run defense - EDGE RAVENS

The Ravens' defensive line has performed well even with tackles Tony Siragusa (knee) and Larry Webster (ankle) bothered by injuries. Second-year players Lional Dalton and Martin Chase have performed well along with Fernando Smith, who can play end or tackle. But the Ravens are playing against one of the NFL's top running backs in Eddie George. Look for the Titans to run behind guards Jason Layman and Benji Olson and center Bruce Matthews. Matthews, though, will have a tough time chasing down middle linebacker Ray Lewis.

Titans pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense - EDGE TITANS

The Ravens have to get to quarterback Neil O'Donnell to have any chance of slowing the Titans' passing attack, ranked No. 5 in the league. Word out of Tennessee has it that the Titans are concentrating on stopping outside linebacker Peter Boulware, who is tied for the league lead in sacks with five. The Titans have too many weapons for the Ravens, including outside receivers Kevin Dyson and Yancey Thigpen and H-back Frank Wycheck, a Ravens killer the past two years.

Special teams - EDGE RAVENS

The Titans' Al Del Greco is having a much better season than Matt Stover as far as kicking and field-goal accuracy, but Kyle Richardson is superior to Craig Hentrich in punting. The Ravens have better return and coverage units as well as coach Russ Purnell, who was the Titans' special teams coach last season. He should know which areas to attack.

Intangibles - EDGE TITANS

The Ravens are going for three straight wins for only the second time in their brief history. Also, the team will be motivated by some of the cheap shots taken by both teams last year in Tennessee. The Titans lost, 24-22, to the San Francisco 49ers last week and are looking to rebound in front of their home crowd.

Prediction - EDGE TITANS

Coach Jeff Fisher and his Titans are the model for inconsistency in the league, but they'll still beat the Ravens, 17-10.

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