One of the league's most intense rivalries will be renewed at LP Field on Sunday as the Tennessee Titans (0-1) play host to the hated Baltimore Ravens (1-0).
While the Titans came up a bit short in their attempt to steal a win from the Jaguars in their season-opener, the Ravens started the 2011 campaign in convincing fashion as they routed the defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers 35-7.
Can the Titans pull off an upset and defeat the Ravens this weekend? The answer to that question and more...after the jump as we preview Sunday's Ravens/Titans matchup.
Time of possession
A recurring theme that permeated the Titans' losing ways in 2010 reared its ugly head yet again in this year's season-opening loss to the Jaguars. Which theme am I referring to, you ask? Elementary, my dear Watson: Getting punished in the area of time of possession.
In a page taken right out of the book of last year's frustrating ending, the Titans were demolished in the time of possession category last week, as the Jaguars controlled the football for nearly 40 minutes of the contest.
To win against the Ravens, the Titans must do a better job of keeping the football in their own hands by prolonging drives through the means of converting key third-downs on offense. Defensively, they've gotta make some stops and prevent the Ravens from mimicking the Jaguars by dominating via a punishing rushing attack.
Of course, that's not going to be a simple task, considering Baltimore's impressive 170 rushing yard performance against the usually impenetrable Pittsburgh Steelers' run defense.
Earn your money, CJ
Fresh off a sweet new contract, Chris Johnson didn't fare too well last week against the Jaguars, as he rushed for a measly 24 yards on a disappointing nine attempts.
For the Titans to pull off the upset, CJ's gotta be a lot more involved in the team's offensive gameplan on Sunday. Of course, he'll need some assistance from his offensive line, which has to do a better job of paving lanes for Johnson to run through.
Of course, this goal is easier said than done when you're matching up with a tough Ravens' rush-defense.
In large part due to Peyton Manning's absence, the AFC South is a wide-open race and it's paramount that the Titans avoid an 0-2 hole in their attempt to stay competitive.
That's going to be quite a task facing a seemingly ravenous Ravens' bunch that clicked on all cylinders against a formidable division opponent last week.
Unfortunately, I have a hard time convincing myself that the Titans are going to emerge victorious this weekend.
I expect the Titans to put up a fight but in the end, the Ravens will make enough plays to win the game as we edge closer and closer to the onset of the Jake Locker Era in Nashville.
Ravens 24 Titans 10