The Ravens are the AFC’s top seed, putting them two home victories from the Super Bowl. They get their postseason underway Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium with what promises to be a tough matchup against the Titans, led by bruising tailback Derrick Henry.
Baltimore went 14-2 during the regular season, winning its final 12 games, and led the NFL in scoring offense. The Ravens ranked second in the league in total offense and set a single-season NFL record with 3,296 rushing yards. Coach John Harbaugh allowed second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson the freedom to do what he does, and offensive coordinator Greg Roman designed a system that accentuates his strengths. Jackson set a single-season league record for rushing yards by a QB, added polish as a pocket passer and is the league’s presumptive MVP.
The Ravens had a dozen players selected to the Pro Bowl, but one of them, running back Mark Ingram II, comes into the game with an injury-related concern. He suffered a calf injury in Week 16 and missed practice time this week. He is officially listed as questionable.
The sixth-seeded Titans didn’t secure their spot in the playoffs until the final Sunday of the regular season. But they’re coming off an upset victory at New England in the opening round in which former Patriots player Mike Vrabel, now Tennessee’s coach, perhaps ended his former team’s dynastic run. The Titans are a dangerous opponent for the Ravens because of their ability to use running back Derrick Henry to control the clock and the game.
Henry ran for 182 yards, the most in a postseason game since January 2008, and a touchdown against the Patriots. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill didn’t do much in New England, posting only 72 passing yards. But he was the league’s highest-rated passer, at 117.5, during the regular season, and he was a key factor in the Titans’ push to reach the playoffs after taking over for Marcus Mariota. He gives Tennessee the option to turn to the passing game if the Baltimore defense focuses too intently on Henry.