Line: Ravens -9.5

Tennessee and Baltimore face off in Maryland on Sunday afternoon. The Titans are coming off a bye and have lost 6 of their last 7 games. It their last game they made a change at starting quarterback an inserted rookie Zach Mettenberger into the starting lineup. While the move was likely the wise decision for a team that was getting poor quarterback play and is not in the playoff hunt, it may not have been fair to have the young rookie start against the Texans and their one man wrecking crew named J.J Watt. Watt was his usual dominant self while accumulating two sacks; a batted pass (that he very nearly intercepted) and he forced a fumble in the Texans 30-16 win. The Titans are getting almost nothing from their running game as running backs combined for only 10 carries and 36 yards. Rookie quarterbacks need a strong running game to help slow the pass rush and the Titans have yet to develop a running attack this season. Mettenberger had a strong statistical game going 27-41 for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns. Unfortunately quarterbacks are ultimate measured in the win/loss column. The Ravens have had an up and down season as evidenced by their 5-4 record. Last weekend they had the misfortune of having to go against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers who have been on fire as of late. The Ravens offense played rather well last week but the defense never had a chance against Roethlisberger. Quarterback Joe Flacco was 20/45 for 303 yards and two touchdowns. The running back combination of Justin Forsett and Lorenz Taliaferro only received a combined 16 carries for 59 yards but a lot of that has to do with the team trailing throughout the game. Veteran wide receiver continued his fantastic season with 4 catches for 63 yards and yet another touchdown, his 4th of the season.

Tennessee has had extra time after the benefit of the bye week and will be looking to have a much stronger second half of the season. The extra practice reps will hopefully benefit Mettenberger as he is clearly a better option than Charlie Whitehurst and Jake Locker. Titans rookie offensive tackle is likely to make his 4th straight start despite accepting a plea bargain during the bye week for a drunk and disorderly charge.

The Ravens are going to have to play without starting cornerback due to his injured foot and Coach Jim Harbaugh says the team may have to adjust his schemes accordingly. On offense, quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown four touchdowns and 5 interceptions in his last 3 games. The running game has been successful for teams against the Titans so perhaps someone in the crowded yet unspectacular Ravens backfield could step up and have a big game while claiming the starting job as their own. The Ravens are built on a balanced offense and a dominant defense and they will need to get back to that formula if they are going to get back to contention in a competitive AFC North division in which all the teams are over 500.

Pick: Titans +9.5

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