Ravens expect heavy dose of Henry while hosting Titans

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is the probable NFL MVP.But he isn’t the most important player in Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff game.Star running back Derrick Henry will be the pivotal player on the field when the Tennessee Titans attempt to upset the host Ravens, the top-seeded team in the AFC field.Henry carried the sixth-seeded Titans to a stellar 20-13 upset of the third-seeded New England Patriots last weekend when he established a franchise playoff record with 182 rushing yards. Eddie George held the old mark of 162, set in the 1999 postseason against the Indianapolis Colts.The 26-year-old Henry carried 34 times against the Patriots, and the Baltimore defense is expecting to see a lot of No. 22 on Saturday.Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey is certainly familiar with Henry’s running style; they were teammates at Alabama when Henry won the Heisman Trophy in 2015.”I really think it’s going to take all 11 (defenders),” Humphrey told reporters of stopping Henry. “He’s 6-foot-3, and he has really elite speed also. He can run people over here and there all the time, but if he gets to the edge, he can really outrun you.”Henry won the NFL rushing title with 1,540 yards and took it up a notch against New England. In fact, Ravens safety Earl Thomas feels some Patriots were fearful of being in Henry’s path.”Guys didn’t seem like they were too interested in tackling him,” Thomas said. “So, our mindset is a little different. We’re going to try to tackle him. Try to swarm. And we’re going to see how it plays out.”The Titans were third in the NFL in rushing (138.9) during the regular season, while Baltimore was fifth (93.4) in defending the run.Of course, the Ravens run the ball better than anyone — and that includes every team in NFL history after they set a record with 3,296 yards.Jackson supplies magic and force and rushed for 1,206 yards in the regular season, the most by a quarterback in NFL history. He also passed for 3,127 yards and an NFL-best 36 touchdowns as the Ravens averaged an NFL-leading 33.2 points per game.”He’s from Mars,” Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said. “He’s definitely an outer space guy. He’s unbelievable. The stuff that he’s doing so far this season, it’s unreal.”Safety Kevin Byard knows dealing with Jackson will be a major challenge for a defense that allowed an average of 20.7 points during the regular season. He termed Jackson as a better run-throw quarterback than Michael Vick — the person whose QB rushing-yardage mark Jackson broke.”I would say he’s Vick 2.0,” Byard said.”I was talking to my dad about it (Monday) night. I think he is faster than Vick, and he’s so dynamic. I grew up watching Vick and I wanted to wear No. 7 because of Vick. I think kids are growing up now wanting to be just like Lamar Jackson. He is so dynamic and a trailblazer in his own right. And facing him is a big challenge for us.

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