The National Football League has concluded what may have been its most unusual season ever. But now it’s playoff time, and most of the usual suspects will be there.
Two teams returning to the playoffs will meet this weekend when the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens play a first-round Wild Card game. Kickoff comes this Sunday, Jan. 10 at 12:05 p.m. CT / 1:05 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on both ESPN and ABC.
It will be a playoff rematch. The Titans upset the Ravens 28-12 in the divisional round a year ago to make the AFC Championship where they fell to eventual Super Bowl winner Kansas City Chiefs.
This year, those wishing to bet on the Titans at any of the four Tennessee online sportsbooks will be taking the underdog once again.
Ravens vs. Titans Wild Card odds
Here are the midweek lines for Sunday’s matchup as they currently appear at the four TN sportsbooks:
|Action 24/7||BAL -3.5 (-110) / TEN +3.5 (+110)||BAL -189 / TEN +145||O 55 (-110) / U 55 (-115)|
|BetMGM||BAL -3.5 (+100) / TEN +3.5 (-120)||BAL -185 / TEN +155||O 54.5 (-110) / U 54.5 (-110)|
|DraftKings||BAL -3.5 (-105) / TEN +3.5 (-117)||BAL -180 / TEN +155||O 55 (-112) / U 55 (-109)|
|FanDuel||BAL -3 (-122) / TEN +3 (+100)||BAL -180 / TEN +152||O 54.5 (-112) / U 54.5 (-108)|
As you can see, the sportsbooks are largely in agreement about the Ravens being the favorite. Sportsbooks around the country likewise all have Baltimore at either -3 or -3.5, with the moneyline and totals odds similar as well.
Both teams bring an identical 11-5 record into the contest which will be played at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Tennessee has a 5-3 record at home, while Baltimore has done well to go 6-2 on the road.
Interestingly, home-field advantage has perhaps meant less than ever this year. NFL games have been played with severe restrictions on attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Coincidentally or not, home teams went 127-128-1 this year, the first time home teams have finished an NFL regular season below .500 in NFL history.
The Titans will allow fans at the game on Sunday, limiting attendance to 21% capacity.
Focus on offensive stars Derrick Henry and Lamar Jackson
The Titans have held the advantage over the Ravens in their last two contests. Both of those games took place with Ryan Tannehill under center at quarterback.
In last year’s playoff tilt, the Titans dominated throughout. Tennessee jumped out to a quick two-touchdown lead by the start of the second quarter. Tennessee increased the advantage to 28-6 during the second half before winning 28-12.
Running back Derrick Henry carried much of the offensive load, rushing for 195 yards on 30 attempts. Meanwhile, Tannehill only threw 14 passes as the Titans stuck to their successful ground game.
The teams met in Week 11 this year when Tennessee won an overtime thriller 30-24. The back-and-forth contest featured multiple lead changes before a Justin Tucker field goal for Baltimore tied the game near the end of regulation. Henry was the star again, however, capping a game-ending drive with a 29-yard TD run to seal the victory in OT.
The spotlight will no doubt be on Henry again Sunday. In the regular-season finale, Henry became the eighth RB in NFL history to join the 2,000-yard club. Henry gained 250 yards versus the Houston Texans to push his season total to 2,027 rushing yards.
On the other side of the ball, all eyes will be on last year’s MVP, Lamar Jackson. The third-year Ravens QB had another stellar season, throwing for 26 touchdowns while completing 64.4% of his passes.
Jackson also hit a milestone in the final week when he finished the regular season with 1,005 rushing yards. After gaining over 1,200 yards on the ground the year before, Jackson became the first QB in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in multiple seasons.
Jackson has yet to win a playoff game, having lost in the first round each of the last two seasons.
Sportsbooks rate BAL and TN longshots to win Super Bowl LV
No Tennessee sportbook rates either the Titans or Ravens as a favorite to emerge from the 14-team playoff field to win this year’s Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
Futures bets on Baltimore to win it all range between +1000 and +1100, while those on Tennessee go from +2500 up to +3100.
All four have Kansas City as the favorite to defend its AFC title and return to the Super Bowl with odds from +210 to +240. Meanwhile from the NFC, the Green Bay Packers have the lowest odds from +425 to +550.
Both the Chiefs and Packers are No. 1 seeds, meaning they are the only teams of all 14 enjoying a week off with a first-round bye.
Here is the full schedule of this weekend’s Wild Card action featuring back-to-back tripleheaders:
|AFC Wild Card: Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at Buffalo Bills (13-3)||Sat., Jan. 9||12:05 p.m. CT / 1:05 p.m. ET||CBS|
|NFC Wild Card: Los Angeles Rams (10-6) at Seattle Seahawks (12-4)||Sat., Jan. 9||3:40 p.m. CT / 4:40 p.m. ET||FOX|
|NFC Wild Card: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) at Washington (7-9)||Sat., Jan. 9||7:15 p.m. CT / 8:15 p.m. ET||NBC|
|AFC Wild Card: Baltimore Ravens (11-5) at Tennessee Titans (11-5)||Sun. Jan. 10||12:05 p.m. CT / 1:05 p.m. ET||ESPN / ABC|
|NFC Wild Card: Chicago Bears (8-8) at New Orleans Saints (12-4)||Sun. Jan. 10||3:40 p.m. CT / 4:40 p.m. ET||CBS|
|AFC Wild Card: Cleveland Browns (11-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)||Sun. Jan. 10||7:15 p.m. CT / 8:15 p.m. ET||NBC|