Minutes after clinching a third straight postseason appearance with a dominant win Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals, Ravens players were asked for their feelings on a potential rematch with Tennessee, which was considered the front-runner for the AFC’s No. 4 seed.
Said safety Chuck Clark: “It doesn’t matter. We’re trying to line up with whoever we got. We’re trying to go get the job done.”
And quarterback Lamar Jackson: “It really doesn’t matter, but I’ll be grateful for whoever we play. I’m just happy we made the playoffs.”
And outside linebacker Matthew Judon: “If we have to go to Tennessee, [or] if we have to go to upstate New York, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. We just have to win.”
A few hours later, Titans kicker Sam Sloman hit a 37-yard, game-winning field-goal attempt as time expired, clinching the AFC South title and setting up yet another rematch with the fifth-seeded Ravens. Sunday’s showdown will be the third meeting in less than a year; in Week 11, Tennessee overcame an 11-point third-quarter deficit in Baltimore, and star running back Derrick Henry sealed a 30-24 overtime win with a 29-yard touchdown run.
Asked Monday whether there was a “revenge factor” for his players, coach John Harbaugh said the team is “just focused on the game.”
“Previous games really have little bearing. We’ve played them many times over the years,” Harbaugh said. He mentioned how, on the bus ride back from Sunday’s win in Cincinnati, general manager and executive vice president Eric DeCosta had discussed the teams’ postseason history. The Ravens won in Tennessee in the 2000 and 2008 playoffs, and lost to the Titans at home in 2003.
“There’s just been a lot of games over the years,” Harbaugh continued. “It’s got some history, the rivalry does, sure. But what impact does any of that have on the next game? We just have to go play our best game of the year. That’s what we’re preparing to try to do.”
Which means looking at film from last season’s playoff game, and this season’s regular-season game, and a lot of other Titans games. The Ravens are preparing for the Tennessee team they’ll face in the playoffs Sunday, Harbaugh said. It’s too late to change what happened between them a year ago.
Baltimore Ravens Insider Newsletter
Want the inside scoop on the Ravens? Become a Ravens Insider and you'll have access to news, notes and analysis from The Sun.