With a quarter of the season in the books there have been plenty of surprises.
Tom Brady is out for the year, Bret Favre threw for six touchdowns and the undefeated Tennessee Titans lead the AFC South.
The Titans have been doing it with a formula familiar to Baltimore fans. Let your opportunistic defense strip the opposition, lean heavy on a solid ground game and have your quarterback “manage” or NFL speak for just don’t screw up the game.
It seems to be working for Jeff Fisher’s team as breakout rookie Chris Johnson and beefy counterpart LenDale White have handled the load on offense and Kerry Collins, yes Kerry Collins has been under center and is providing leadership and composure. The defense has been stout as they have been allowing just less than 12 points a game and have a front four that provides the pressure. Overall they are a team that doesn’t beat themselves and has done the little things needed to be successful in the league.
It will interesting this Sunday as the Ravens return home fresh off their heartbreaking overtime loss to Pittsburgh this past Monday, to see how they react coming off the short week and playing a team that they share many similarities with.
The running game is tops in the league with Willis McGahee and emerging truck Le’Ron McClain. The defense seems back to its old ways, stuffing the run and getting the opposition to turn it over. Quarterback Joe Flacco continues to grow each game and made some impressive throws in his national debut. He also has done a workmanlike job running the offense and exhibiting a presence that has many Baltimore fans dubbing him “Joe Cool”.
So what will happen when these two teams meet at 1 pm this Sunday? It could turn into an ugly defensive slugfest along the lines of a 9-6 game or turnovers could be the rule of the day. I’m looking at the latter. I’m looking for the Ravens to finally try and open things up a bit to allow the running game to take hold. They must get Todd Heap and either Mark Clayton or Demetrius Williams involved in the air attack. It’s either that or just max protect with everyone and just let Flacco chuck it to Mason. The Ravens must also be able to show composure and not allow penalties to undo what has mostly been good hard hitting football. I think it will be close but I worry about Baltimore being able to throw with success and being ready after a physical contest.
Titans 23 Ravens 17