scouting report

the pick titans 17-10

October 05, 2008|By JAMISON HENSLEY

Ravens run offense vs. Titans run defense: : The Ravens have the NFL's third-ranked rushing attack, but they average just 3.9 yards a carry (19th in the league). Willis McGahee, who has been limited in practice because of a rib injury, is trying to play his first complete game of the season. That could be a challenge against a hard-hitting front seven that held the Vikings' Adrian Peterson to 30 yards on nine second-half carries (3.3 yards). With volatile 320-pound tackle Albert Haynesworth, the Titans have the NFL's eighth-best run defense. But Tennessee has allowed four rushing touchdowns this season. Edge: TITANS:

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Ravens pass offense vs. Titans pass defense: : Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco showed great resilience in his first road start, shaking off five sacks and a costly fumble. Ball security will be critical against a Titans defense that leads the NFL with 12 takeaways. In four games, cornerback Cortland Finnegan has four interceptions and end Kyle Vanden Bosch has forced three fumbles. The Ravens' Derrick Mason has 16 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns in two meetings with the Titans, his former team. Tight end Todd Heap and wide receivers Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams have combined for just 13 catches this season. Edge: TITANS:

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Titans run offense vs. Ravens run defense: : The Titans can go with speed (rookie Chris Johnson) or power (LenDale White). Johnson has gained 5 yards a carry, and White has scored five touchdowns. Behind their top tacklers - inside linebackers Ray Lewis (32 tackles) and Bart Scott (18) - the Ravens rank second in run defense. In their past 39 home games, the Ravens have given up 100 yards to two running backs (Kansas City's Larry Johnson and Tennessee's Travis Henry). Edge: RAVENS:

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Titans pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense: : Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins will throw his first pass against the Ravens since the 2001 Super Bowl, in which he was intercepted four times. Titans offensive tackles Michael Roos and David Stewart are extremely underrated and are the main reasons Collins has been sacked just once this season. The Ravens have the NFL's best pass defense and have held quarterbacks to a 43.5 completion rate. In two home games, the Ravens have made four interceptions and recorded seven sacks. Cornerback Fabian Washington and safety Jim Leonhard will make their second straight starts for Samari Rolle (neck and shoulder injury) and Dawan Landry (neck). Edge: RAVENS:

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Special teams:: Tennessee's coverage teams are among the NFL's worst, ranking in the bottom five on punts (13.7 yards) and kickoffs (27.8). Ravens returner Yamon Figurs can be dangerous but has recently been slowed by a hamstring injury. Ravens punter Sam Koch leads the AFC in net average (43.9 yards), and the Titans' Craig Hentrich is 10th (36.2). Edge: RAVENS:

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Intangibles:: Coming off a rough Monday night game and only five days of rest, the Ravens will have a tough task against the equally physical Titans. The Ravens have also struggled against the AFC South, losing six of the past seven meetings with teams from that division. Tennessee has the NFL's longest winning streak at seven. The Titans also own the league's third-best road record (56-49) since 1995, Jeff Fisher's first full season as coach. Nine of the 17 meetings between the former AFC Central rivals have been determined by three or fewer points. Edge: TITANS:

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Prediction:: The short week will do no favors for the Ravens. Neither will Tennessee's defensive line, a fearsome front four. This is a game in which the Titans' defense will deliver a statement as well as a victory.

TITANS, 17-10:

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