Game Preview: Ravens vs. Titans


On a two-game slide, the Ravens know they need to snap out of it if they're going to turn things around and make a playoff push.

Baltimore was on top of the AFC North just two weeks ago. Now the Ravens are in last place in the division. But just as fast as things have fallen, they can rise again.

It starts Sunday with the Tennessee Titans, who are 2-6, but still have enough talent to bite somebody.

"We have a huge challenge in front of us," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

"Tennessee is a very good football team. They're coming off a bye; they had two weeks to prepare for us. Their defensive front is as good as any in football – maybe the best defensive front we've played yet this year. And I say that watching the tape. They are good."

Three Matchups To Watch

OLB Elvis Dumervil vs. RT Michael Oher
Dumervil is heating up. He has 4.5 sacks in his last four games. Now he's going against one of the more generous right tackles in the league in former Raven Oher. Oher is yielding a lot of pressure and he'll be playing his first game in M&T Bank Stadium where the crowd will be against him. The Ravens want to get a lot of pressure against the Titans.

CB Lardarius Webb vs. WR Kendall Wright
Webb is the anchor of the Ravens secondary with Jimmy Smith out. He can't get beat deep again like he did for a touchdown in Pittsburgh. Wright is an explosive athlete similar to those Steelers receivers. The Ravens have to keep Wright from getting over the top and making big plays after the catch. Wright has four touchdowns so far this season.

WR Torrey Smith vs. CB Jason McCourty
Smith is starting to break out with four touchdowns in his last four games. He went deep for a 35-yard touchdown in Pittsburgh and nearly hit another long score later in the game. McCourty is the Titans' best cover cornerback, but he can't match Smith's speed. Look for Baltimore to take some shots.

Three Keys To The Game

Secondary Gels Quickly
Two of the Ravens' three cornerbacks will be playing their first game for Baltimore this year in Danny Gorrer and Tramain Jacobs. Baltimore needs themto quickly adapt so there aren't any glaring lapses in the secondary. The last thing the Ravens need is to give up more big plays. This group needs to prove that it can hold its own now that Jimmy Smith is done for the year.

No Turnovers
The Titans have the 27th-ranked offense in the NFL. They likely won't march on the Ravens, especially playing in Baltimore. Baltimore may just need to avoid shooting itself in the foot to win Sunday's game. Joe Flacco has thrown five interceptions in the past three games. He needs to protect the football better and the running backs have to hold onto it, too.

Pressure The Rookie QB
Titans sixth-round rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger is playing in just his second NFL game and first on the road. He's not an overly mobile quarterback, and prefers to sit in the pocket and deliver long, strong throws. The Ravens front seven will be looking to attack and intimidate the rookie. Neither Terrell Suggs nor Pernell McPhee got sacks in Pittsburgh. Look for them to be hunting Sunday.

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