- Thirteen of the Titans’ 16 games this season have finished with more than 50 total points
In what should be one of the most exciting games of Wild Card weekend, the Titans play host to a Ravens team they have beaten on the road in each of their last two meetings, including when they eliminated them from the playoffs last year. That of course doesn’t ensure anything, but it does make the line a bit interesting. Baltimore is favored by 3.5 points at most books, and certainly the value there feels like it’s on Tennessee’s side.
The game also has a massive total, which makes sense particularly given Tennessee’s tendencies. The Titans play fast and efficient offense, but they also can’t stop anyone on the other side of the ball, and after opening the 2020 season with a low-scoring win over Denver in Week 1, have since seen 13 of their 15 games go over 50 total points.
The last time these teams met it took overtime to push the total to 54, and both teams do like to lean on the run, so there’s some concern this game could be a little slower and lower-scoring. But Baltimore has finally come alive on offense, particularly through their rushing attack that took the league by storm in 2019. Over their five-game winning streak to close the season, the Ravens averaged a ridiculous 267 rushing yards per game, way up from their 157 per game across the season’s first 11 games. That’s also helped them jump from 25.6 points per game in the first 11 games to 37.2 over the past five.
Now those five games have mostly been against soft defenses, but the Titans fit that bill. They’ve been a bit better against the run of late, but for the season rank 21st in success rate defending the run. Against an offense that is so lethal on the ground, the Titans will have to commit extra resources to forcing them to pass. But that could be a major problem — the Titans are also 31st against the pass, so Lamar Jackson should be able to leverage his passing opportunities as they arise.
That matchup of a rolling Baltimore offense against the Titans defense helps explain the game’s line, and it’s one reason I do lean toward Baltimore to win this game. But my favorite way to play that lean is through the over. It’s a huge number, but Tennessee plays so many shootouts in part because they speed things up and are effective when they do trail, and their earlier win in Baltimore did require them to overcome a double-digit second half deficit.
If the Ravens are able to be efficient and score early, the Titans are the type of team that will swing back at some point, whether through Derrick Henry or — in a trailing game script — perhaps more likely through an efficient passing game led by the underrated Ryan Tannehill and highlighted by A.J. Brown. Both teams do lean toward the run which can limit play volume by keeping the clock moving, but there’s plenty of offensive firepower on both sides of the ball here to take the over in a game that should feature plenty of late scoring one way or another.
NFL Expert Picks
Over 54 @ -108
NFL Free Picks
Playoff football is finally here after a season which looked like it might not happen at one point. This expanded playoff structure has given us some exciting games. Saturday's Wild Card Round games see Colts @ Bills, in which Josh Allen will look to underline his MVP credentials. Rams @ Seahawks gives us a divisional clash and Bucs @ Washington sees the rookie Chase Young trying to rush the GOAT, Tom Brady. Sunday gives us another three fun games. The Ravens travel to Tennessee to face the Titans in a game between two of the best rushing attacks in the league. The Bears enter New Orleans as outsiders, then the Browns face the Steelers in another divisional game, and a rematch of their week 17 tie.
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