Here are the five keys for the Tennessee Titans against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
1. Run the ball and run it some more. The Ravens are 30th overall against the run, and the Titans are 10th running the football this season, even though they have been mostly inconsistent. DeMarco Murray claims to be feeling good after getting a week to rest his balky hamstring. If that is the case, then the Titans need to give him the ball early and often.
2. Protect the ball. The Ravens are opportunistic as always in taking the ball away from opposing offenses. The Titans must be careful and not turn the ball over against a Baltimore defense that will be looking for chances to make a big defensive play.
3. Fix the red zone issues. The Titans’ best offensive player this season has been kicker Ryan Succop. No offense to him, but that has to change as the Titans have to score more touchdowns. Some of that has to come from the offensive line imposing its will in the run game. In the pass game, Marcus Mariota needs to find and keep his rhythm. Perhaps the return of Corey Davis after five weeks on the shelf can help in this regard.
4. Hope that Mariota is mobile. Mariota and the Titans claim he should have his mobility back and be able to move around in the pocket, escape the pass rush and use some design runs on the read option. If he can do that, it should open up the Titans offense to be more dynamic than it has been in recent games.
5. Get after Flacco. Joe Flacco is fresh out of the concussion protocol, and while the Titans certainly don’t want to do anything to risk injury to him, they have to get the pass rush going to the point of making him uncomfortable in the pocket. Brian Orakpo (1.5 sacks) is overdue to break out of his slump.