Titans and Ravens head for turning point in Week 6

Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans

The Titans and Ravens have matching 3-2 records, but Week 6 is shaping up to be an important game for both.

The Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens are both 3-2 right now, and both lost narrowly to teams that are perceived to be inferior last week. The Ravens were beaten by one of the ugliest game-winning field goals you’ll see from Browns kicker Greg Joseph, and the Titans lost 13-12 as Bills’ kicker Steven Hauschka made a 46-yard field goal as time expired.

With those lows last week, the Titans and Ravens have also both had some nice highs over the first five weeks. The Titans have beaten the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Philadelphia Eagles, while losing to what now looks like a flimsy one-time unbeaten in the Miami Dolphins. The Ravens had a good win over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4, then last week’s dismal loss came even if the Browns are better than have been.

This season will be an ongoing referendum on Marcus Mariota for the Titans and fans. A Week 1 elbow injury clearly affected him, before he seemed to break through with a 300-yard game through the air and three total touchdowns against the Eagles. Then last week’s dud against the Bills came, as he completed 14 of 26 passes for 129 yards with an interception and zero touchdowns.

The Titans did seem to find something resembling a ground game last week though, as Derrick Henry had 56 yards on 11 carries. But left tackle Taylor Lewan (foot) left last week’s game, and he’s looking very questionable for Sunday. It’s a steep drop-off from Lewan to backup Tyler Marz, as the Titans will try to keep a Baltimore pass rush led by Terrell Suggs (3.5 sacks so far this year) away from Mariota.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is having something of a rebound season thus far, reversing a downward trend in yards per attempt (6.8) and posting his best passer rating (87.8) since 2014. The Titans are a top-10 pass defense right now by most measures, but they are middle of the pack in completion rate allowed and a now deep Ravens’ wide receiver group will pose a challenge.

The Titans are atop the AFC South right now, with the win over the Jaguars as the tie-breaker and a win over the Houston Texans within the division as well already. The way they’ve risen up against better competition, a win over the Ravens at home on Sunday wouldn’t be incredibly surprising.

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Depending somewhat on the results around them within their divisions this week, along with the idea of a two-game losing streak, there could be a huge difference between 4-2 and 3-3 for the Titans and the Ravens. When the season is winding down and the AFC playoff race is taking shape, each team stands to look back on this Week 6 game as a turning point. Coming off disappointing setbacks in Week 5, this can be tabbed as a practical must-win for both teams.

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