First Look: Ravens-Titans

January, 4, 2009
1/04/09
11:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

No. 6 seed Baltimore Ravens (12-5) at No. 1 seed Tennessee Titans (13-3), Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET

In the other half of the conference bracket, we have another AFC North team still alive in the Baltimore Ravens (12-5), who face the Tennessee Titans (13-3) Saturday.

Here are three things to ponder this week as Baltimore prepares for its next game:

1. Which defense will prevail?

The Ravens and Titans were No. 2 and No. 7 in the NFL in total defense, respectively, and the unit that dominates likely will lead its team to victory. The Ravens thrive on controlling the pace of the game. Against the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore took the air out of the visiting stadium by forcing five turnovers and scoring a defensive touchdown. If the Ravens are able to dominate quarterback Kerry Collins and the Titans the same way, it could be a long day for Tennessee. The Titans likewise will look to control the field-position battle with their solid defense.

2. Can Joe Flacco avoid mistakes?

It's been so far so good for the rookie quarterback in the postseason. Flacco didn't commit a single turnover in a 27-9 win over Miami but will face a much stiffer defense in Tennessee. The Titans are good against the run and will require Flacco to air it out with more efficiency to be successful. Flacco completed just 9 of 23 passes for 135 yards and one rushing touchdown in the wild-card round. He will probably need to put up better numbers for Baltimore to continue to advance.

3. Will Baltimore neutralize Haynesworth?

This week marks the return of Titans Pro Bowl defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who is arguably the best at his position. He is returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for the final two games of the regular season. Haynesworth is a big part of Tennessee's defensive scheme. He stuffs the run in the middle and helps with rushing the quarterback by providing a solid push and commanding double teams. Baltimore had some trouble blocking him in the first meeting, but so do most teams.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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