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5 Things To Watch vs. Titans


The Ravens are back in Baltimore this week, and their return home comes at a perfect time.

After losing back-to-back games for the first time this season, the Ravens (5-4) now have a critical game against the Tennessee Titans (2-6).

"This is what we live for," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "In this sport, you only get to play one a week."

The Ravens are in the midst of an incredibly tight division race, and here are some things to watch Sunday as they look to end their two-game skid:

Response From New Secondary

The Ravens decided to shake things up after allowing six touchdowns to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger last week. Cornerbacks Chykie Brown and Dominique Franks were both cut, and now Tramain Jacobs and Danny Gorrer will get their chance on the 53-man squad. The new additions have to get acclimated quickly, as they'll be asked to step into significant roles. Jacobs, Gorrer and veteran Lardarius Webb are the only healthy cornerbacks on the active roster, and all three are expected to see playing time. Jacobs and Gorrer have to capitalize on the opportunity, as top cornerback Jimmy Smith is done for the season and the Ravens will have to rely on the newcomers down the stretch.

Eliminating Turnovers

The Ravens have victimized themselves in recent games, and turnovers have proven costly in back-to-back weeks. Quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown five interceptions the last three games, and a critical fumble by running back Lorenzo Taliaferro Sunday set up the Steelers for their first touchdown.  Flacco, Head Coach John Harbaugh and Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak have stressed the need to eliminate the miscues, and that has been a point of emphasis this week. "We are going to be very tough to beat if we don't turn the ball over, and it's something we have to stop," Flacco said.

Preying On Rookie Quarterback

Titans rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger is slated to make his second career start Sunday, and the Ravens want to make life miserable for the young signal caller. The defensive front will bring pressure on Mettenberger to try to force him into bad situations, and Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees will look to confuse the rookie quarterback at the line of scrimmage. The Ravens have a history of success against rookie quarterbacks, and that's a trend they hope to continue Sunday.

Keep Flacco Upright

Part of the problem against the Steelers was that Flaccco had pressure in his face throughout the night. The Steelers racked up four sacks and 10 hits on Flacco, and he never seemed to get into a rhythm. Flacco has been lights out this season when the Ravens give him time to throw the ball, and the offensive line needs to keep him upright. Part of the responsibility also falls on Flacco and the receivers to capitalize with quick-strike passes in the open field when teams bring the blitz. If the line gives Flacco time, then it could be a good day for the offense against the 23rd ranked pass defense.

More Big Plays

A bright spot last week was that the Ravens did come up with some big plays in the contest, as wide receiver Torrey Smith caught a 35-yard touchdown pass and Jacoby Jones had a 108-yard kickoff return. Those touchdowns ended up being for all for naught, but they were a good sign for Smith and Jones. If the Ravens can hit on more explosive plays like that against the Titans, then that could help spark the offense to a big day.

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