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By: Tony Lombardi
Riding a four-game winning streak, the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) travel to battle the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7) at TIAA Bank Field (1 p.m. kickoff). The Ravens are (4-1) on the road this season and enter this game against the Jaguars as 3 ½ point favorites. Jacksonville has lost six of its last 7 games, most recently to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead, by the score of 27-17. The Jaguars feature the NFL’s 9th-ranked offense and the 23rd-ranked defense. The weather forecast calls for overcast skies with wind gusts up to 24 mph with a 47% chance of precipitation.
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The Ravens defense has gotten a big lift with the addition of Roquan Smith and there’s little reason to expect the momentum to stop in Jacksonville. The Jaguars average 362 yards of offense per game. On Sunday, they won’t get out of the 200’s.
Mike Macdonald’s gang will register 5 sacks during the afternoon and move into the league’s top 4 in the team QB takedown department. Roquan, JPP, Justin Houston, Odafe Oweh and Calais Campbell each drop Trevor Lawrence once.
Baltimore is second in the NFL with a +9 turnover ratio. They will push that number to +11 by the time the clock reads 4:15PM. Patrick Queen gets one pick off a tipped pass by Campbell. Marcus Peters gets in on the thievery also with a fourth quarter INT.
The sloppy offensive play of late will continue to burden the team but they’ll do enough to advance to (8-3). Lamar Jackson throws for less than 200 yards while running for 55. His only TD pass will be to the Jaguars 2019 third-round pick, Josh Oliver, from inside the 5-yard line. Gus Edwards gets the Ravens other score with a run from 18 yards out.
Wind and rain help to keep the scoring down in a sloppy game.
Ravens 20, Jaguars 10
[Related Article: Battle Plans v. Jaguars]
The Ravens will be trying to extend their four-game win streak, and it looks to be a good matchup for them to do just that against a still-developing Jacksonville Jaguars team on the road. Here are a few predictions:
— Lamar Jackson has an efficient game throwing the ball, completing more than 70 percent of his passes, and not throwing an interception. He throws for more than 200 yards, and adds another 100 on the ground.
— Trevor Lawrence uses his own legs well to combat an aggressive Ravens defense, and he’ll run for more than 50 yards himself.
— DeSean Jackson hauls in a touchdown pass from outside the red zone.
— Odafe Oweh registers two sacks. An oldie, but a goodie.
— Marcus Peters gets a pick.
Ravens 26 Jaguars 16
This is a very sneaky big game. Cincinnati is playing well and Ja’Marr Chase will be back soon. The Ravens have to keep stacking wins against this easy schedule but this week’s game will not be easy.
Jacksonville is a team that is good on both lines and overall, this is a better team than their record indicates.
On top of that, I think it’s unlikely that Ronnie Stanley or Kyle Hamilton plays. Both have been playing at a high level and while the safeties are playing well as a group, Hamilton has been huge in coverage and his tackling has been superb. And Stanley is a guy who doesn’t look like he was hurt and basically missed two years.
The good news is that the Ravens should be getting back Gus Edwards and DeSean Jackson. This team needs to start improving on offense and while Stanley being out won’t be helpful for that, it’s imperative that they get better… but I’m not sure it happens this week.
I think the Ravens win a close game.
Ravens 20 Jaguars 16
I was prepared to say that this was the week Lamar Jackson gets back on track, playing in favorable conditions under the Florida sun. Unfortunately though, it looks like we might be in for a bit of a slop-fest, weather-wise.
That will translate to a slop-fest on the field as well, as the Jags’ decent offense takes on the Ravens’ great defense, and the Ravens’ sputtering offense runs into a similarly decent Jacksonville D.
Ravens 19 Jags 13
Some things are likely to stay the same in this game, while some things will be surprising.
-A thing that’ll stay the same: QBs that have never faced the Ravens tend to have an absolutely awful time, and I don’t expect Trevor Lawrence to be any different. Baltimore’s defense forces multiple picks, and Broderick Washington records a sack-fumble.
-A thing that’ll be surprising: the Jags are going to put up more of a fight than in years past. Despite being 3-7, they have the best turnover differential in the AFC South with +11. For context, that’s the same differential as the 7-3 Miami Dolphins. I wouldn’t call them a super dangerous team yet, but they certainly have weapons. Christian Kirk is one of their main weapons, and he records 6 catches for 75 yards and a TD on the day.
-The running game for the Jags gets stifled on the day, even with the recent addition of Darrell Henderson. No Jags RB tops 40 yards on the day.
Ravens 23 Jags 10
Do I believe the Ravens win this game? Yes. Do I believe it will be an easy walk in the Duval park? No. The Ravens offense is too hit or miss to predict over the top dominant performances.
The offense will get going in this game. Jackson will have a very efficient day passing and he’ll continue to develop his connection with Demarcus Robinson. This will be much like the game against Tampa Bay. The first half will be a fight. The second half will see the Ravens pull away.
The defense will keep doing their thing. Roquan Smith will have an interception and Patrick Queen will have a sack and a forced fumble. Marcus Peters will be busy because nobody wants to test Marlon Humphrey. Peters will have a pick. Trevor Lawrence will be sacked five times.
The Ravens will never let this game get too dangerous, but it will be competitive. Put the Ravens down for a win.
Ravens 24 Jaguars 14
I fell into the trap last week of thinking that the Ravens would handle business in dominant fashion against a lesser opponent, and as much as I’d like to do so again, this week I’m adjusting expectations.
Both Ronnie Stanley and Kyle Hamilton are “day-to-day,” but we shouldn’t be banking on having either of them this week. On the flip side, it does appear as if this should be the week to finally see the debut of David Ojabo.
The Jags, despite being 3-7, have hung in every single game this year and played their opponents tough. Of those seven losses, only one has come by more than one score (two weeks ago against KC). I don’t expect that to change this week while the Ravens offense continues to get healthy in their own right. I think they pull it out, but not without some late drama to keep our blood pumping.
Ravens 24 Jaguars 20
The Ravens have got to get this offense rolling. They will be getting Gus Edwards back so the run game can hopefully get better. At this point it is put up or shut up time for this offense, no more excuses, they have to do more.
I have no worries with the defense in this game and I think they handle their business against an inconsistent Jags offense.
— Lamar throws for 2 touchdowns and rushes for 1
— Demarcus Robinson catches a touchdown
— The Ravens defense makes Trevor Lawrence’s day a nightmare, sacking him three times and throwing a pick
Ravens 21 Jaguars 7
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Originally posted on Russell Street Report