By Keegan Ohta
The Tennessee Titans have taken down Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions New England Patriots. That’s like Luke Skywalker destroying the Death Star in Star Wars. (If you don’t get that reference, go to YouTube or ask your neighborhood geek.)
Instead of a ceremony for the Titans, though, they now get the reward of facing the top seed in the AFC – otherwise known as the Baltimore Ravens.
Now if you know your history, this matchup goes all the way back to 1996 when Tennessee was still called _______. This blank is left for our website editor, Lance Tominaga, who wrote the book on ultimate sports trivia. (They were called the Houston Oilers, Keegs! – Lance)
For those that don’t know, Tennessee was known as the Houston Oilers before being moved to Tennessee in 1997 and then renamed to the Tennessee Titans in 1999.
The two teams’ matchup score lines up 12-11 in favor of Baltimore, and they will meet for the third time in an AFC divisional game. In both previous meetings, the Ravens won and advanced to the AFC Championship game.
Of course, this is no longer a matchup between Joe Flacco and Kerry Collins. It’s time for Ryan Tannehill and LamarJackson.
While many mention Jackson and how he is the frontrunner in the MVP race, Tennessee should still be mentioned.
Since Tannehill was named starter over Marcus Mariota, who started the season 2-4, Tennessee has won 7 of 10 games and made the playoffs. Then he led the Titans to a win over the Patriots.
Baltimore didn’t become the top seed on a fluke though. They give up the fifth fewest yards in rushing and the sixth fewest yards in passing. Their only two losses came at the beginning of the season, but then won 12 straight.
You also just have to look at the stats to know why Lamar Jackson is the MVP frontrunner. He has 36 passing touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. On top of that, his running game is unmatched in terms of quarterbacks and even most running backs. In 176 attempts, he has more yards than 17 other players with more rushing attempts than him. And they are all running backs.
Lamar Jackson also broke Michael Vick’s record for most rushing yards in a single season by a quarterback and did it by 167 yards. He also has the one and two spots for most rushing attempts by a quarterback in a single season.
While the Titans gave up the 12th fewest rushing yards in the league, they also gave up the ninth most passing yards. So a dual-threat quarterback like Lamar Jackson should be able to find some holes in the defense, whether it’s by land or by sea.
Let me use a quote by Dan Patrick that could quite possibly be in Mike Vrabel’s mind right now: “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.”
If Tennessee can contain him, they might have a chance. But if Lamar Jackson breaks free and Baltimore runs wild…
Well, let’s just say the Titans might be looking more like the Titanic.
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