What an exciting week this will be for Tennessee Titan fans.
Playoffs in the NFL have a completely different atmosphere. I noticed the difference in the four wild card games played on television this past weekend. You can multiply that a couple of times at LP Field Saturday.
With Saturday afternoon's matchup with Baltimore, the Titans will be playing in their 11th playoff game, including their Super Bowl appearance in the 1999 season. They enter the game with a 5-5 postseason record, splitting a pair of games with the Ravens.
The Titans lost to Baltimore 24-10 in a 2000 AFC divisional playoff game in Nashville after the Ravens scored two fourth quarter touchdowns.
Tennessee defeated Baltimore on the road 20-17 in a AFC wild card game in the 2003 season.
The Titans are 2-1 in home playoff wins. Tennessee's other playoff wins at home include a come-from-behind victory featuring the ever-memorable "Music City Miracle" against Buffalo in the 1999 AFC wild card game and a 34-31 overtime win over Pittsburgh in the 2002 AFC playoffs.
Titan fans hope for another home playoff game Saturday but it won't come easy. Baltimore brings the NFL's second rated defense to LP Field Saturday.
The Titans barely defeated the Ravens 13-10 in Baltimore earlier this season. In that game the Ravens collected 285 yards compared to Tennessee's 210 yards of total offense. The Titans' outstanding running game was held to only 47 yards.
Baltimore held a huge advantage in time of possession, 34:28 to 25:32, and both teams had a pair of turnovers.
Speaking of turnovers, I believe that will be the difference Saturday. I expect a low scoring game with both defense dominating. Games like that are usually decided by a turnover.
This has been a very exciting year for the Titans and the AFC road to Super Bowl XLIII will come through Nashville as long as the Titans win. It's not supposed to be easy, but the Titans have as good a chance as any team.
For now, let's look forward to the first task at hand....a very good Baltimore Raven football team.
Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.