The Ravens roll into Tennessee and LP Field today coming off possibly one of the most emotional regular season games in franchise history.
How will they bounce back? The Titans are eager to find out.
Here are three keys to today's game from the Ravens' perspective:
1. Contain CJ
Anytime you face one of the most explosive players in the league, slowing him down is clearly your top goal. Chris Johnson has game-changing ability, and the Titans' running back will have all eyes on him every time he steps foot on the field this afternoon. The Ravens' defensive ends will try their hardest to set the edge and keep Johnson in between the tackles, but that's no easy task. Johnson gets to the corner so quickly, and if he's able to get outside and turn upfield, that's when he's really dangerous. Baltimore would love to slow Johnson down and force Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to beat them.
2. Don't get burned in the return game
The Ravens struggled on kickoff coverage last year, and their coverage issues continued last week, as they allowed 34.3 yards per kick return. Those numbers were put up by a speedy return man in Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown, but today, they'll face an equally fast returner with a Pro Bowl appearance on his resume in Tennessee's Marc Mariani. If you break down the Ravens' and Titans' rosters, Baltimore appears to have an edge in every area - passing offense, rushing defense, etc. - with the exception of the kick return game. The Ravens can't let Tennessee make a few big plays in this aspect and sneak away with a victory.
3. Keep the mo' going
I'm not sure a team can click much more than the Ravens did last week against the Steelers, but Baltimore's task this week is to carry that strong play in all facets past Pittsburgh and into a game against a team that isn't a hated division rival. Beating the Steelers handily while clicking on both offense and defense is fantastic, but that game is behind the Ravens now. Their task at this point is to carry that type of performance into Week 2 and beyond. Not to say last week's effort was easy to put together, because it wasn't, but if the Ravens can head into Tennessee and replicate the type of emotion, effort and strong fundamentals that they put on display last week, it bodes well for how they'll fare the rest of the season.