A battle that can be won

<i>Earnest Byner, director of player development for The Ravens takes a look at some telling stats. It's a story you will only find here on Bynersinsiders.com. </i><br><br> Saturday's game has many underlying themes. Our winning streak vs. the Titans, Jeff Fisher vs. Brian Billick, Ray vs. Eddie George and among other things, how the league feels about Charm City and it's favorite team.

The theme regarding the battle of the defenses and the efficiency of the offenses has some interesting twists.

The two defenses have a lot to brag about. In the AFC the Ravens rank 2nd and Tennessee ranks 5th.

The ability to get the opponent off the field on third is crucial in this play-off battle. Tennessee ranks first in the division in this department at a rate of 27.7%. The Ravens rank second at 29.4%.

Out of the six AFC play-off teams only one remaining team can get the opponents off the field with the same efficiency. That is Denver at 29.5%. That said this game sets up to be a great defensive battle and hopefully states that the winner has an inside track to the Superbowl. 

Along with the third down percentage the rank against the run (Ravens 5th Tennessee 1st AFC) indicates that this game could be one to have your VCRs going. The team that can stop the run and get off the field on third down will control the tempo of the game. 

When you can get off the field defensively the players stay fresh and it gives the offense the ability to have more opportunities to find their rhythm.

The numbers are also quite telling regarding the two offenses.

The third down conversion percentage of the play-off teams average 38.7%. Baltimore is 31.9% while Tennessee is 40.8%. The third down conversion rate for the offenses seem to lead to the play-offs in the AFC. All play-off teams other than the Ravens are over 37%. We are competitive and perhaps due for a game that will find that rhythm. The ability to convert on offense will serve two purposes.

It will allow our offense to keep the drives going keeping the dangerous Titans and Air McNair off the field.

The table is set. The numbers state that the Ravens are in for the toughest battle of the season. 

But it is a battle that can be won!

So, keep your eyes on each team's running game, third down conversions and turnovers. For this game, good play in those three areas will determine the winner on Saturday.

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