With running games that are among the best in the NFL, it's natural to assume both teams will try to dominate time of possession. But it's not going to be easy for either offense to consistently move the chains because the Ravens and Titans also feature two of the nastiest defenses in the league. So it's going to be strength against strength regardless of who has the ball on Saturday.
The Titans do have a couple advantages in this contest though. First, they are playing at home. Second, they're facing a rookie quarterback. And on the road in the postseason is generally not a good place for a first-year QB, especially against a defense that led the league in creating turnovers.
But then again, Joe Flacco isn't your average rookie signal caller. Although he didn't have the greatest performance of his life in the Ravens wild-card win over the Miami Dolphins, he has, for the most part, gotten better as the season has rolled by. And the experience he gained last weekend will be invaluable in helping him prepare for the hostile environment he will face this weekend. And that's going to be key, because the team that avoids the critical turnovers is the one that will win this game.
In my view, the Ravens are playing their best ball of the season while the Titans may have already peaked earlier in the year. And the Ravens just seem to be a team on a mission at this point. I don't think their defense will let them lose to the Titans.
Either way, though, this game won't be for the faint of heart. No doubt the air will be thick with emotion on Saturday, and there will be a litle more purpose behind each and every hit. And you can bet I'll be enjoying every slobber-knocking second of it!
I've yet to pick a home team in this year's playoffs, so hey, why start now, right?
Prediction: Baltimore 22, Tennessee 13