LONDON – The Titans face the Ravens on Sunday here at Tottenham Stadium in London.
Here's a look at six things to watch in the contest:
Run the Ball
The Titans want to run the football with running backs Derrick Henry and Tyjae Spears, and history suggests they might be able to do so. Henry has 368 rush yards (122.7 per game) in his past three games vs Baltimore, including playoffs. This is a different Ravens defense, however. The Ravens are allowing just 91.4 rushing yards per game, and 3.57 yards per carry, both top seven totals. Can Henry get back on track on Sunday? That's a big question in this one. So far this season, Henry has just 328 rush yards, his lowest total through five games since the 2018 season. Of Henry's rushing total, 266 of those yards have come after contact. Think of what Henry could do with more openings.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson posted season lows in completion percentage (57.9) and passer rating on (65.2) last week against Pittsburgh, but if you watched that game you saw his receivers let him down with plenty of drops. The Titans don't want to let Jackson get on track in the passing game, but his legs are as much of a concern. Jackson leads all NFL quarterbacks with 265 rushing yards and four touchdowns, and his 5.6 yards per carry leads all QBs. Jackson has 100-plus rush yards in two of his three career starts vs the Titans. When he's thrown it, he's gotten the ball out quick – in 2.9 seconds, the quickest time in his career. The Titans hope to contain him, and they'll also look to create turnovers – Jackson also leads the NFL with four fumbles lost in 2023.
Red Zone Offense
The Titans were just 1-of-4 scoring touchdowns in the red zone last week in Indianapolis, and it came back to bite them. The offense – and quarterback Ryan Tannehill – need to have more success this week against a Baltimore defense that's allowing just 15.0 points per game. Getting the ball to receiver DeAndre Hopkins could cure some of the team's red zone woes. Hopkins had season highs in receptions (8) and receiving yards (140) last week, and while he leads the team in catches (26) and yards (356) this season, he hasn't yet scored a touchdown.
This had been a given for the Titans – until last week. It's time to stiffen up and stop the run again. Jackson, as mentioned previously, is a big part of Baltimore's rushing offense. But the Ravens are ranked fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (146.0) because they've been able to run it effectively most weeks with Gus Edwards as well. Running back Justice Hall also had three rushing TDs this season as well. The Titans dropped from 4th to 9th in run defense after surrendering nearly 200 yards in the ground in Indy. The Tennessee defense needs to stiffen up again at the line of scrimmage, because the Ravens have 25 runs of 10-plus yards this season, which is 2nd in the NFL.
Rise and Shine?
The Ravens departed for London on Monday, and they practiced in the United Kingdom all week. The Titans, meanwhile, left on Thursday after practice after getting most of their prep work in Nashville. The Titans practiced in London on Friday. So, which team will be sharper on Sunday? Kickoff for Sunday's game is 2:30 BST, but that's 8:30 a.m. CDT. Tannehill said this week the key is to not think about what time it is in the states when you're in London. Will the Titans be sharp and well rested, or still dealing with jet lag? Will the Ravens be on a London overload after being on the road all week? Time will tell how this plays out.
Importance on Week 6
The Titans are back to being underdogs, as the Ravens are favored by four points in Sunday's game. The Titans have alternated losses and wins through five games this season, so under that trend, they're due for a win. Since 1990, teams that started a season 3-3 have made the playoffs 35.6% of the time, won the division 17.2% of the time and won the Super Bowl 0.8% of the time. The percentages for teams that started 2-4 isn't pretty: 10.5%, 4.5% and 0.0%.