The Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans hope a change can do them good in the NFL’s final game in London this season.
The Ravens flew over Monday, eager to put a 17-10 loss at Pittsburgh behind them quickly and adapt to the time change. They’ve dissected the issues that have Baltimore (3-2) second in the AFC North instead of atop the division.
“We should be 5-0, I believe,” Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson said. “We just have to put up the points on the board (and) protect the ball. … Every week, we’ve now had a turnover, whether it’s me or somebody else.”
The Titans (2-3) are 0-3 on the road after a 23-16 loss at Indianapolis and technically are the home team Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Their biggest issue is scoring more touchdowns than field goals, and fixing that against one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses won’t be easy.
Tennessee then returns home for its bye. With the Titans sitting at the bottom of the AFC South, they might be the more desperate team. Derrick Henry said returning home 3-3 will be much better than a second straight loss.
“That’s the goal to hopefully go into the bye week with a win and have some momentum,” Henry said.
Henry won the 2015 Heisman Trophy playing at Alabama, while Jackson won a year later at Louisville. They’ve split the four games they’ve played against each other in the NFL with each winning once in the regular season and once in the playoffs.
The three-time Pro Bowl running back currently ranks third among all Heisman winners with 80 career rushing TDs and eighth with 8,663 yards rushing. Jackson, the 2019 AP NFL MVP, trails only Cam Newton among Heisman-winning quarterbacks with 4,702 yards rushing and 28 TDs.
Jackson currently has as many rushing TDs (four) as the Titans combined. Henry has 285 yards rushing compared to Jackson (265), though the Ravens quarterback has a much better average per rush.
IN GOOD HANDS?
The Ravens dropped seven passes last weekend, according to Pro Football Focus, and some were in crucial spots. Coach John Harbaugh said he’s not too worried about a repeat performance after a 45-minute meeting Wednesday — as long as they take care of business.
“That’s below the line, and that’s what receivers do. They catch the ball,” Harbaugh said. “Our guys are going to catch those balls 99 out of 100 times. We have a lot of catches in front of us then, if that’s the case.”
The Titans have been the NFL’s best defense against the run since the start of the 2021 season and wound up gashed in their loss to the Colts. They gave up 193 yards rushing, including 165 to Zack Moss to snap a pair of streaks.
Baltimore is fourth in the league averaging 146 yards. The Titans are well aware they need to rebound to their usual standard. Two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons said: “We’ve got to be better.”
The Ravens could easily be undefeated, but a mistake in managing the clock hurt them in an overtime loss to Indianapolis, and then turnovers and those drops cost them at Pittsburgh last weekend.
Harbaugh said the message in that Wednesday meeting was to work on the little details so the Ravens can take that next step to being all they can be.
“It’s a fine line between good and great, and breaking bad,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the difference in terms of any kind of competition. The idea is, we’re a good football team. We’re capable of being great. Let’s go to work and do the things we need to do – every little detail – to take that next step.”
This is the second game in London for both the Ravens and the Titans, with each looking for their first win there. The Ravens got to enjoy a bit of being tourists along with the chance for team bonding.
“I love just being in different places where some people are out of their comfort zone,” Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith said. “It makes you grow as a person, as well as a team.”
The Titans stayed in Tennessee until Thursday afternoon before flying to London, preferring the comforts of home at the team facility. They ruled out starting wide receiver Treylon Burks, who will miss his third straight game with an injured left knee.
“The main objective is go out there, try to get a win,” two-time All-Pro safety Kevin Byard said of the Titans. “It’s a business trip at the end of the day.”
AP Sports Writers Ken Maguire in London and Noah Trister contributed to this report.
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