Scouting Report

Ravens At Titans

November 12, 2001|By Jamison Hensley

Ravens rushing vs. Titans run defense

In their meeting with the Titans five weeks ago, the Ravens dominated up front to produce a season-best 207 yards rushing in a 26-7 victory. Tennessee, which ranks eighth in the league in run defense, has given up only 67 yards rushing per game since but will likely be without its centerpiece. Middle linebacker Randall Godfrey had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Tuesday and is questionable. Ravens running back Jason Brookins has to become more disciplined in following fullback Sam Gash.

Ravens passing vs. Titans pass defense

Elvis Grbac returns as the Ravens' starting quarterback after missing two games with bruised ribs. He has yet to finish a game since Oct. 7, when he threw for 259 yards and a touchdown against Tennessee. Ranked next-to-last in the league in pass defense, the Titans are allowing 257.6 yards passing per game, giving up 11 touchdowns while making only three interceptions. The Ravens won't be able to pick on cornerback and former teammate DeRon Jenkins as frequently since he has been replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Andre Dyson.

Titans rushing vs. Ravens run defense

Tennessee running back Eddie George has struggled with a sprained ankle and hyperextended knee. He hasn't reached 100 yards in nine straight games and is gaining just 2.7 yards per carry. The biggest running threat will be Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair, who has returned to running draws and bootlegs. Ravens defensive tackle Sam Adams owned Tennessee right guard Benji Olson in the last meeting.

Titans passing vs. Ravens pass defense

Which Ravens secondary will show up? The one that shut out the Titans' receivers earlier this season? Or the one that has allowed quarterbacks to complete 67 percent of their passes and throw for eight touchdowns the past four games? The Ravens will probably be without nickel back James Trapp, meaning reserve safety Anthony Mitchell will move into that package. Ravens end Michael McCrary recorded two sacks against left tackle Brad Hopkins, but the Ravens have to be more aware of McNair's renewed scrambling.

Special teams

EVEN

The Titans have blocked three of the past 14 punts by the Ravens' Kyle Richardson. Though Tennessee returner Derrick Mason was injured and did not field kicks against the Ravens in the last meeting, he could be a factor against the Ravens' lackluster kick-coverage team. Ravens kickoff specialist Danny Kight was erratic in windy Pittsburgh last week after producing three touchbacks in his debut.

Intangibles

The Ravens have out-talked and outplayed Tennessee over the past year. They have won the past three meetings and are now firmly in the heads of the Titans. Tennessee has lost only three times in 3-year-old Adelphia Coliseum, with two of those defeats coming against the Ravens. The emotional edge also goes to the Ravens, who are making the first Monday Night Football appearance in franchise history.

Prediction

The final divisional game between the Ravens and the Titans figures to be a classic for Monday Night Football. This time, the Ravens will win at the stroke of midnight, 17-16.

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