Large Majority of Pundits Pick Ravens to Prevail in London
The Ravens are hoping their second game in London goes significantly better than their first, when they were thrashed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, 44-7, in 2017. To that end, the team changed things up for Sunday morning's game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London against the Tennessee Titans.
In 2017, the Ravens didn't arrive in London until the Friday morning before the game, but this time they spent the entire week in London. The Titans left for London overnight and will practice there today.
Whether the contrasting travel plans will make a difference remains to be seen, but an overwhelming majority of the pundits we looked at (49 of 55) are picking Baltimore to beat Tennessee.
The Ravens (3-2), who will be playing their third consecutive game away from home, are looking to rebound from last week's error-filled 17-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Titans (2-3), who have alternated wins and losses this season, lost to the Indianapolis Colts, 23-16, last week.
Here's what pundits are saying about Sunday's game:
The Ravens will bounce back from last week's loss.
The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec: "The Ravens have become one of the most unpredictable teams in the NFL. One thing they usually do is bounce back from tough losses. I'll take them over the Titans in an ugly game in London."
Baltimore Positive’s Luke Jones: "[Rookie running back Tyjae] Spears could be a sneaky weapon for Tennessee and Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill can still take advantage of mistakes in coverage despite his rough start to 2023, but I'll bet on Lamar Jackson and the offense rebounding from last week's showing in Pittsburgh for a 24-17 win over the Titans."
Bleacher Reports Report’s Brad Gagnon: "Baltimore is a lot better than what we saw in Week 5 in Pittsburgh. The Ravens followed up their last loss with an emphatic 28-3 road victory, and I'm expecting something similar here."
ESPN’s Joe Fortenbaugh: "Back in Week 3, I watched the Ravens blow a game against the Indianapolis Colts. They bounced back the following week to hammer the Cleveland Browns by 25 points. I think this is a similar bounce-back spot based on what happened with them dropping the ball against Pittsburgh last week."
Traveling to London early gives the Ravens an advantage.
USA Today’s Safid Deen: "I like Baltimore's plan to stay practice in London early in the week, instead of traveling Thursday before the game. It benefited Jacksonville with two wins in London, and will benefit the Ravens over the Titans."
The winner will be determined by which quarterback plays better.
The Baltimore Banner’s Brandon Weigel: "Titans signal-caller Ryan Tannehill and the Ravens' Lamar Jackson have nearly identical marks in passing yards and yards per attempt, but Tannehill has been much more careless with his throws, tallying three more interceptions than touchdowns. Baltimore's secondary will continue to keep him off balance, while Jackson and the Ravens' receivers get back on track."
The Titans will win a close one.
The Athletic's Vic Tafur: "I clearly have no read on the Titans this season, but their bend, but don't break defense — they've allowed the fifth-most yards (36.1) and the fourth-most plays (6.4) per drive of any team in the NFL — should be able to hang on overseas against the Ravens."
CBS Sports’ John Breech: "My gut originally told me to take the Ravens, because they're a slightly better team that would have steamrolled the Steelers in Week 5 if their receivers didn't drop every pass that was thrown to them, but I'm ignoring my gut and going with the Titans."
The Titans' red-zone offense vs. the Ravens' red-zone defense is a storyline to watch.
ESPN’s Turron Davenport: "The Titans have scored touchdowns on only 35.3% of their red zone visits this season, landing them in a tie with the Texans for third worst in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Ravens' red zone defense has given up touchdowns on an NFL-low 25% of opposing offenses' visits inside the 20-yard line. Getting seven points instead of kicking field goals could be the difference, as three of the Titans' five games this season have been decided by one score."
|ESPN||8 of 9 panelists pick Ravens|
|Baltimore Sun||4 of 4 panelists pick Ravens||“The Titans will be dangerous as long as Mike Vrabel is their coach and veteran stars such as Derrick Henry and DeAndre Hopkins are around to make plays. But they haven’t performed well offensively or defensively, and the Ravens are unlikely to undercut themselves as badly as they did in Pittsburgh. Lamar Jackson will be the best player on the field in his London debut, and that will be enough.” — Childs Walker|
|USA Today||8 of 8 panelists pick Ravens|
|NFL.com||5 of 5 panelists pick Ravens||“I don't think the Ravens will stall out against an inferior opponent two weeks in a row, regardless of which side of the Atlantic they're playing on. On a per-play basis, these teams mirror each other offensively, with Baltimore averaging 5.2 yards a snap and Tennessee putting up 5.1. Where the Ravens have an edge is on defense and on the ground (with Derrick Henry off to an even slower start than usual). Oh, and I suppose Lamar Jackson offers a pretty big boost in the edge department, too, Week 5's sloppiness aside.” — Tom Blair|
|NFL Network||9 of 10 panelists pick Ravens|
|Sporting News||Ravens 23, Titans 17||“Lamar Jackson and the entire Ravens' offense is not fitting so well in the new system with critical mistakes and an inconsistent running game, sometimes using Jackson, sometimes not. The Titans also have had Jackson's number in the past. That said, the Titans' defense is suddenly breaking down up front and has a bad secondary. The Ravens also can keep slowing Derrick Henry across the pond. John Harbaugh's team rebounds well as Mike Vrabel's team fails to overachieve for the mild upset.” — Vinnie Iyer|
|CBS Sports||4 of 8 panelists pick Ravens||“Both of these teams are coming off bad losses, and now have to make a long trip to play this one in London. The Titans defense was bad against the Colts, but the Ravens offense blew a bunch of scoring chances in losing to the Steelers. These games are always physical battles, which is why this will be close. The Ravens are good against the run, which is a problem for Derrick Henry. The Titans win it, but it's close.” — Pete Prisco|
|Pro Football Talk||2 of 2 panelists pick Ravens||"I think the Ravens are the better football team. The Ravens defense is very good. I have a hard time thinking the Titans are going to be able to move the ball on a regular basis against this Ravens defense, and I do think this Ravens offense is close.” — Chris Simms|
|Sports Illustrated||7 of 7 panelists pick Ravens|
|Fan Sided||Ravens 21, Titans 17||“We've got another early game taking us on an international adventure to start Sunday's slate, once again in London. Baltimore is coming off of the baffling loss to the Steelers last week but I expect the Ravens wide receivers to have their best game of 2023. Particularly with the Titans listing Jeffery Simmons as questionable for this one, the Ravens should get a win here.” — Cody Williams|
ESPN's Dan Orlovsky Says Ravens Are Good, But He's Starting to Doubt They Can Be Great
ESPN's Dan Orlovsky had high expectations for the Ravens coming into the season, but now he is tempering those expectations based on their uneven play through the first five weeks.
"I'm not as confident as I wish I was. I think the Ravens are a really good team that have given me reason to doubt how great they can be this year, and I hate saying that," Orlovsky said on "Get Up."
"I doubt them because I've been waiting for like three years now for that level of consistency to show up. And while they are playing good football, they have given away two games. How many other teams in the AFC do we feel that way? The Bills gave away Week 1, haven't done it since. Everyone asks: Where are the Ravens? A really good football team, but it's hard for me to truly place them in that conversation with Kansas City, Buffalo, and Miami in the AFC."
The Ravens players and coaches all know the team should probably be 5-0, but as wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said yesterday, "no team ever won a Super Bowl in Week 5 or 6."
PFF Says Ravens Should Target Brian Burns at Trade Deadline
The Ravens have made splashy moves at the trade deadline in recent years, acquiring cornerback Marcus Peters in 2019 and inside linebacker Roquan Smith last year.
If General Manager Eric DeCosta makes a move before this year's Oct. 31 deadline, Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuiness said it should be for Carolina Panthers edge defender Brian Burns.
"Brian Burns could be a costly but worthwhile swing-for-the-fences move," McGuinness wrote. "Burns is 25 and in the final year of his contract, so Baltimore would likely have to be willing to part with its first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and sign Burns to a top-of-market deal. That's a lot, but the Ravens have been unable to draft a top-tier edge defender and Burns is coming off a season where he generated 68 total pressures. Through five games this year, he has registered 13 — five of which were sacks."
Burns, a two-time Pro Bowler, has 42 sacks in five seasons, including a career-high 12.5 last year.
- Mark Andrews is No. 3 in Next Gen Stats’ tight end power rankings.