Adam Caplan VIP Q&A column

Scout.com national NFL reporter Adam Caplan offers his take on the Baltimore Ravens' impending playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field.

1. Who do you see winning the Ravens-Titans rematch and why?

It should be a close, low-scoring game. I see the Titans, who are coming off of a badly needed bye, winning in a close game, 13-10. The game could go either way. I see Kerry Collins' experience as the possible difference in this matchup.

2. Can the Ravens run the football on Tennessee?

It will help that DT Albert Haynesworth won't be close to 100 percent, but it will still be very difficult to run on them. The bottom line is the Baltimore has a run first mentality and will try to run the ball no matter who the opponent is.

3. Scheme-wise, what stands out about the Titans' offense? Are you impressed with Mike Heimerdinger?

Probably the rotation of the backs is the most impressive facet of their offense. Rookie Chris Johnson has been much better than anyone thought he could be this season and without him, this offense wouldn't be able to move the ball consistently on the ground and the big play element would almost be gone.

They are aware that Johnson could wear down so third-year back LenDale White is the perfect complement to his speed. It's hard for defenses to adjust to the power and speed element that each back brings.

Heimerdinger has done a nice job of rotating backs. Where they have struggled to move the ball consistently is in the passing game.

4. With Kevin Mawae out, how much of an edge does Baltimore have upfront with Haloti Ngata and Justin Bannan?

It's a major problem because second-year OL Leroy Harris has only started one game (final regular season game at the Colts) and he'll be responsible for the line calls against one of the toughest defenses to get a grasp of. Having watched the tape of the Miami game, it will be a major challenge for the Titans to figure out what the Raven defense will do schematically from play to play.

5. Do you think the Ravens will be able to block Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch again?

I think the Raven offensive line has really started to come together of late and keep in mind they use a lot of three tackle formations and maximum protection formations to keep pressure off of QB Joe Flacco.

6. How do you think Joe Flacco will play this week after being somewhat inaccurate, but careful to avoid turnovers again the Dolphins? Was the game plan too conservative?

The game plan was fine. For the first time that I can remember watching him since October of 2007, Flacco was hesitant to make the right throw to open receivers. There were at least four throws that I counted that I saw that he didn't pull the trigger on. I asked ESPN's Ron Jaworski about it and he felt Flacco, like most young quarterbacks in a big game, might have been a little gun shy. He had Derrick Mason open for a big play in the second quarter of the middle. That play might have resulted in a score.

7. Which NFL opening do you see Rex Ryan landing, if any? Why has it been so hard for him to get a job? Is it because of his personality or his father's reputation?

Ryan is well-respected. It's kind of surprising that we haven't heard his name come up for interviews yet. But there are still three jobs open and none seem to be on the verge of being filled. Ryan might be the league's best defensive mind.

8. Would you re-sign Bart Scott, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs or Jason Brown if you could only keep three of those guys? And would you cut Chris McAlister and Willis McGahee even though the cap hit for McGahee is expensive?

Lets save this for after the playoffs are over.

9. Do you think the Titans will take any special measures to avoid safety Ed Reed?

Tennessee, like Baltimore, has a run-first mentality and Reed really isn't a box player so when they throw it, they'll be aware of him. Baltimore is really good covering the tight end so Bo Scaife probably won't be a big factor in this game. I'd expect them to take a shot or two down field with WR Justin Gage, who is their best deep threat.

10. Can the Titans rack up some yards on the ground against Baltimore?

I don't see it. Other than maybe a screen or two with Chris Johnson, I don't see them running for 100 yards or more.

11. Do the Titans have an edge on special teams?

I think where Tennessee has an edge is on kickoff returns. The Ravens, because of Yamon Figurs' struggles, don't have a good kick returner. Tennessee's KR Chris Carr is solid in that area. Carr is also a decent punt returner.

12. Who's the biggest surprise on the Ravens in your opinion?

I'd say three players. Justin Bannan, who has been solid in filling in for Kelly Gregg. Jarret Johnson, who has made people forget about Adalius Thomas. Joe Flacco, who many thought wasn't ready to be a starter this season.


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