Prior to the current four-division configuration in the AFC, the Ravens had belonged in the AFC Central, a format that pitted them against Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans on a regular basis through the 2001 season.
The Ravens and Titans will meet for the 17th time in a series that is often remembered as being one of the most rugged and evenly-played for both franchises. The all-time series is tied at 8-8, and both sides have won four games at home and four games on the road.
Playing at Tennessee continues to resonate with Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis, who still thinks of LP Field by its former corporate moniker, Adelphia Colisuem.
"I kind of like playing there," Lewis said Wednesday. "It’s a grass stadium, and they have a great fan base that gets very rowdy there. And me going back there so many years back, I don’t think anything is going to change. It’s their home opener, and I just think it’s going to be real, real loud. But I do remember that stadium, yeah.”
The series was especially electric in the postseason. The Ravens knocked off the Titans, 24-10, to advance to the AFC championship and eventually capture the franchise's only Super Bowl championship to cap the 2000 season.
The Titans returned the favor with a 20-17 win in the wildcard round of the 2003 season, but the most recent meeting between the franchises ended with the Ravens winning, 13-10, and advancing to the AFC championship of the 2008 campaign.
“For so many years, I played against the Titans," Lewis said. "There was nothing like that rivalry. We used to have kind of like the same rivalry that we have with Pittsburgh now. And to have Eddie George and, rest in peace, Steve McNair, and all those guys back then, it was just two heck of a teams going at it. And we always knew that one of us was going to be there at the end of the day. You know, 1999, they went to the Super Bowl. [In] 2000, we came back and went to the Super Bowl, but it was always a dog fight between us two. And honestly, we said the same thing and then look for the same thing coming up this week.”