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Why I’m picking the Ravens over the Titans

The Ravens and Titans square off in the Divisional Round. Teasing makes some sense, but either way, it’s hard not to back Lamar Jackson and Co.

The Baltimore Ravens come out of their bye week hosting the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round of the 2020 NFL Playoffs. The Titans upset the third-seeded New England Patriots last Saturday in the Wild Card round, and now turn around to face the hottest team in the league and likely MVP Lamar Jackson.

The Ravens opened as a 10-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the total at 46.5. The line has come down to 9.5, and the point total has come down to 47 as of Friday morning. The Ravens are -420 on the money line and the Titans are +255. The Ravens are 10-5-1 against the spread this season, and have gone over the point total nine times. The Titans are 10-7 ATS and have gone over the point total ten times.

Injury report

The Titans suffered a big injury with linebacker Jayon Brown ruled out with a shoulder injury. Adam Humphries missing another game doesn’t help, but losing a starter like Brown is a hit for a defense facing arguably the hottest offense in the NFL.

The Ravens have a big question with running back Mark Ingram. He sat out Tuesday and Wednesday, then got in a limited workout on Thursday before listed as questionable on the final injury report. The upgrade to limited is important, but the question is how limited will he be on Sunday? Will we see more Gus Edwards and Justice Hill because of this calf injury?

Pick against the spread

The Titans are about to play their third straight road game, and this is the most difficult of the three by a long shot. Derrick Henry is on a roll, and Ryan Tannehill has generally played well, aside from a quiet performance last week. But this seems like a tall task. 9.5 points is a lot to lay, but getting that half point hook down from ten is enticing.

New England had the best defense in the NFL this season, but Baltimore is no slouch. They finished the season ranked fourth in pass defense efficiency, and a big reason for that was the addition of cornerback Marcus Peters via trade. Peters has been a huge addition that has improved the pass rush. Their run defense ranks 19th in efficiency, so if Tennessee is going to cover, it will be because of Henry gashing this unit rather than Tannehill.

Ideally this is a number to tease down, ideally at or below Ravens -3. But, if I had to pick it as is, I’d take Baltimore -9.5. The more interesting number is under the point total of 47. Both have dynamic quarterbacks, but this game features two of the best ground games in the NFL. Couple the ground games with Baltimore’s improving defense, wind and a decent amount of rain, and the under makes sense.

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