NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans (2-6) return from their bye this week with a trip to play the Ravens (5-4) in Baltimore. Kickoff at M&T Bank Stadium (capactiy 71,008) is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST/noon CST on Sunday, Nov. 9.
The Titans and Ravens have shared an intense rivalry since their first encounter in 1996. In 20 all-time meetings, including three playoff bouts, each club has won 10 times. However, the Titans have won four out of the last six matchups.
This week's game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Andrew Catalon will handle play-by-play duties, while Steve Beuerlein and Steve Tasker will serve as analysts.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.
TITANS REACH MIDWAY POINT
The Titans look to begin the second half of their season on a winning note after suffering two consecutive losses prior to last week's bye. Their second win of the season came on Oct. 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it was followed by a 19-17 road loss to the Washington Redskins (Oct. 19) and most recently a 30-16 defeat at LP Field, courtesy of the Houston Texans (Oct. 26).
Against the Texans, Titans rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger recorded his first career start. He previously attempted only five passes through the first seven weeks, as Jake Locker (four starts) and Charlie Whitehurst (three starts) split the first-team duties as a result of Locker's injuries. But during the practice week leading into the Houston game, Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt announced the decision to go with the sixth-round pick from Louisiana State University.
Mettenberger was 27-of-41 passing for 299 yards with two touchdowns, an interception and a passer rating of 93.4. He completed his first career touchdown pass to tight end Delanie Walker in the third quarter and added a second to wide receiver Justin Hunter in the fourth quarter.
On defense, the Titans got five sacks from five different players against the Texans to bring their season sack total to 23. Only seven teams have more sacks in 2014 than the Titans, and since 1999, only three Titans defenses have produced more than this year's unit through a season's first eight games. Fourteen different Titans have at least one sack, led by defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, who has four.
*THE RAVENS *
The Ravens are in their seventh season under head coach John Harbaugh. They went to the playoffs in each of their first five seasons with Harbaugh at the helm and won the Super Bowl following the 2012 campaign.
In 2014, Harbaugh's squad is in the midst of a heated battle for supremacy in the AFC North. The Cincinnati Bengals currently sit atop the division at 5-2-1, with the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3), Cleveland Browns (5-3) and Ravens trying to keep pace.
Like the Titans, the Ravens enter this week's game on a two-game skid, including a 27-24 loss at Cincinnati on Oct. 26 and a 43-23 defeat last week at Pittsburgh. However, they began the year by winning five of their first seven contests and currently own a three-game home winning streak.
Led by quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens feature the NFL's ninth-ranked offense (10th in rushing, 12th in passing), while nose tackle Haloti Ngata and outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil help spearhead the league's 12th-ranked defense (sixth in rushing, 26th in passing). Baltimore is eighth in scoring offense and fourth in scoring defense.
The Titans and the Ravens have developed a fierce rivalry over the course of 20 all-time meetings since the series originated in 1996, including three playoff battles.
The highly competitive series is knotted at 10-10. Of the 20 games the teams have played against each other, 11 have been decided by four points or less, with the Titans holding a 6-5 advantage in those meetings.
The two teams played together in the AFC Central Division for six seasons after the Ravens relocated to Baltimore from Cleveland in 1996. Realignment in the league in 2002 took the Titans to the AFC South and the Ravens to the AFC North, ending their twice-yearly meetings. In the seven games since realignment, the Titans have a 4-3 lead.
Most recently, the Titans hosted the Ravens in Week 2 of the 2011 campaign (Sept. 18) and prevailed 26-13. Matt Hasselbeck passed for 358 yards, and Kenny Britt totaled 135 receiving yards in the win.
Titans Online looks back at moments from the fierce rivalry between the Titans and Ravens since the series began in 1996. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP, Getty)
The last time the Titans and Ravens met at M&T Bank Stadium was during the 2008 regular season. In that game, the Titans, led by quarterback Kerry Collins, took their first lead of the game on an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Alge Crumpler with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. They held on for a 13-10 victory.
The Titans controlled the majority of the outcomes for the first five years of the series, winning six out of their first nine games. Then, in 2000, the Ravens stole the momentum. Despite owning the NFL's best record at 13-3, the Titans lost to the Ravens at LP Field in the regular season — the Titans' first-ever loss at their new stadium — and then again in a Divisional Playoff game the same year. The playoff win launched the Ravens to their eventual Super Bowl XXXV Championship.
The Ravens went on to win a total of five consecutive games over the Titans until the 2003 playoffs, when the Titans won at Baltimore in a Wild Card playoff game on a 46-yard Gary Anderson field goal in the final minute of play.
Five years later at LP Field, the two clubs met again in the playoffs, this time in the 2008 Divisional Round. Matt Stover's 43-yard field goal with less than a minute on the clock provided the Ravens a 13-10 victory.