Ravens-Titans Notebook, Matchups, Prediction

Titans lead all-time series 10-9.

Ravens still trying to boost running attack

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Ravens are struggling to develop an effective running game.

As a result. coach John Harbaugh might rotate players to find a spark.

Alex Collins entered the season as the starter, but he has yet to have a big game. He ranks 27th in the league with 217 yards on 57 carries and also has two fumbles. In Week 5, Collins played a season-low 27 snaps as Javorius Allen got more action in short-yardage situations.

"A fresh running back is a good thing," Harbaugh said. "A fresh running back is a good thing. I think running backs taking 40, 50 snaps is not necessarily a good thing. You talked about the balance. [If] you put the ball in one guy’s hand for 35 plays, I don’t know if that’s balance. We need to spread the load, and you want fresh guys out there playing hard.”

Rookie De'Lance Turner also appears to be playing his way into the rotation and is gaining the confidence of his coach.

"We need to spread the load," Harbaugh said. "You want fresh guys out there playing hard."

Flacco not enamored with wide receiver role

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco occasionally lines up at wide receiver when first-round pick Lamar Jackson enters the game.

Flacco is not overly enthused about that strategy … much to the chagrin of his wife.

"My wife gave me crap the one day, told me I need to look more interested out there," he said. "But I'm just trying to stay out of it. I'm not comfortable out there. I don't need to get too creative."

Flacco has two receptions in the NFL. The highlight is a 43-yard catch against Oakland in 2008 when he was a rookie.

He doesn’t plan to add to those totals.

When asked of there is any scenario this year he’ll have a chance to catch the ball, he responded: “I sure hope not. Hey – if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. But like I said, I sure hope I don’t have to do that.”

SERIES HISTORY

20th all-time meeting. Titans lead series 10-9. Baltimore visits the Titans for the second-straight season, following 2017’s 23-20 defeat at Nissan Stadium. Overall, the Ravens are 4-6 in Tennessee. Under head coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 2-3 overall against Tennessee (1-3 regular season and 1-0 postseason).

BY THE NUMBERS

15.4 -- Points allowed per game by the Ravens, fewest in the NFL.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

-- WR Michael Crabtree: The veteran was one of the Ravens’ key free-agent signing in the offseason. However, he leads the NFL with six drops. Crabtree also could not corral a potential game-winning touchdown with just under a minute to play in an eventual 12-9 overtime loss to Cleveland in Week 5. He needs to bounce back this week against the Titans.

GAME PLAN

Ravens coach John Harbaugh dismissed the notion his team does not have enough balance on offense. In a 12-9 overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 5, quarterback Joe Flacco had 56 passing attempts, while four players combined for 25 carries. Baltimore has run the ball 139 times so far this season, which ranks seventh in the league. However, the Ravens are only averaging 3.4 yards per carry, ranking 30th. Flacco is ranked 2nd in the NFL with 227 passing attempts behind behind Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (245). The Ravens need to set the tone against the Titans by establishing an effective running attack. Tennessee is ranked 26th, allowing 123.2 yards per game.

The Ravens need to keep Marcus Mariota from establishing his momentum early in the game. Mariota can be dangerous in the zone-read offense so the Ravens need to keep him in the pocket where he is less effective. Last week against the Bills, Mariota completed 14 of 26 passes for 129 yards, no touchdowns and an interception (51.6 passer rating). Baltimore’s defense is much tougher than Buffalo so the Mariota is going to face even more pressure this game. The Titans have also been hesitant to throw the ball downfield this season, and the trend could continue against Baltimore talented secondary, which is ranked sixth against the pass.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Ravens DT Brandon Williams vs. Titans RB Derrick Henry

Henry has carried the ball 65 times for 219 yards and has yet to score a touchdown. The Ravens will focus on shutting him down and force Marcus Mariotti and his team’s 27th-ranked passing offense to beat them through the air. Williams is having a quiet season so far, but he will get some help with both Willie Henry and potentially Michael Pierce back in the lineup. Baltimore is ranked 10th, allowing 3.9 yards per carry. If Henry struggles, Dion Lewis could get more opportunities.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco vs. Titans secondary

The Titans’ cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson, Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler have performed well and are ranked fifth against the pass. Safety Kevin Byard offers solid support and had two interceptions against Flacco in Tennessee’s 23-20 victory last season. Flacco will challenge the Titans early and often, especially after a disappointing performance Week 5 against the Browns. The Ravens were held without a touchdown and Flacco had his worst performance of the season, going 29 of 56 for 295 yards. He also had a careless interception on the Browns 2-yard line with his team leading 3-0.

PREDICTION

Flacco has not been particularly effective in Tennessee, averaging just 15 points in three career games. However, the Ravens learned some hard lessons last week in Cleveland and cannot afford to fall to 3-3. The Ravens will focus on locking down Marcus Mariota and that will pave the way for a victory.

-- Final score: Ravens 16, Titans 10.

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