The ground game takes center stage in Ravens-Titans clash

Tim O'Donnell

For the past few years, the NFL has been defined by the passing game. But fans could be treated to a throwback, ground-heavy affair when the Baltimore Ravens host the Tennessee Titans in the AFC division round Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. E.T. on CBS.

The Ravens had, to put it mildly, an extraordinary rushing attack in 2019. A lot of that is thanks to prolific quarterback and likely MVP Lamar Jackson, whose play during his second NFL campaign turned the Ravens from a solid team into a 14-2 juggernaut. He picked up 1,206 rushing yards on the year, breaking the single-season rushing record for a quarterback with two weeks to play in the season. But he's not the only weapon the Ravens have in the backfield — veteran running back Mark Ingram, who also had a 1,000-yard season ,is expected to play despite an injured ankle, and his backup Gus Edwards is a solid contributor, as well. It's no surprise Baltimore led the NFL in rushing as a team. (It wasn't particularly close, if you're wondering.)

The Titans, meanwhile, have the league's leading individual rusher in running back Derek Henry, who's coming off a dominant performance against the New England Patriots in last week's wild card game. Henry picked up 182 yards on 34 carries, willing Tennessee to an upset victory.

The passing game won't be completely sidelined, either. Jackson is anything but a slouch when it comes to throwing the ball, and Tennessee's quarterback Ryan Tannehill was one of the game's best this season. He only threw 15 times against New England, but expect that to increase Saturday. In fact, The Ringer pegged Tannehill's passing as the key to the game.

Oh, and for what it's worth, the other game Saturday between the San Francisco 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings features the 2nd and 6th-ranked rushing offenses, respectively. Either way, it's a big day for fans who've been clamoring to watch some running again.

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