Ravens vs. Jaguars Preview

Sports and Bets — December 14, 2014 at 3:23 am by

After last week’s huge win in Miami, the Ravens (8-5) are back at The Bank to face the Jaguars (2-11). With the Bengals, Browns, Chargers, and Chiefs all losing last week, the Ravens are in solid shape when it comes to the AFC playoff picture. If the Ravens win out, they’re guaranteed a trip to the postseason. An 11-5 record would also give them a damn good shot at winning the division, considering the tough schedules that remain for the Bengals and Steelers. But you can’t get to 11 wins without recording that 9th victory first. Now’s not the time to look ahead. Now’s the time to come out sharp and run this overmatched Jacksonville squad out of the fucking building. Now’s the time for the cream to rise to the top. Let ‘em know, Randy!

2014 Stats (per game)
Points – Baltimore: 27.4, Jacksonville: 15.3
Points Allowed – Baltimore: 19.6, Jacksonville: 27.4
Passing Yards – Baltimore: 240.8, Jacksonville: 200.9
Rushing Yards – Baltimore: 135.7, Jacksonville: 96.4
Passing Yards Allowed – Baltimore: 267.2, Jacksonville: 244.7
Rushing Yards Allowed – Baltimore: 84.5, Jacksonville: 132.5
Turnover Differential – Baltimore: 0.15, Jacksonville: minus 0.62

Ravens Injury Report
TE Crockett Gillmore – Questionable (Back)
S/CB Anthony Levine – Probable (Concussion)
T Jah Reid – Questionable (Hand)
WR Torrey Smith – Probable (Knee)
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro – Questionable (Foot)

Jaguars Injury Report
DE Andre Branch – Out (Groin)
LB Khairi Fortt – Out (Hamstring)
RB Denard Robinson – Out (Foot)

Ravens’ Offense vs. Jaguars’ Defense
Torrey Smith is listed as probable, but John Harbaugh has said that he’ll be a game-time decision. Smith has yet to miss a game in his four-year career, so he’s obviously going to do everything that he can to be out there. If Smith can’t play, I’m confident that Steve Smith, Sr., Kamar Aiken, and Marlon Brown will provide Joe Flacco with more than enough weaponry to make plays in the passing game.

The Ravens’ offense has really been cooking since their Week 11 bye. In their last three games, they’re averaging 31.6 points, with Flacco tossing five TDs to only one INT (Downing).There’s no reason to think that the good times will stop against a Jacksonville defense that’s 27th in the league when it comes to points allowed. Jacksonville is especially vulnerable on the ground, ranking 28th against the run. That’s gotta have the big boys up front, Justin Forsett, and Bernard Pierce making adjustments to their pants.

Despite their overall struggles on the defensive side of the ball, Jacksonville does hound opposing quarterbacks. They’re tied for 3rd in the league with 38 sacks, which is one more than the Ravens have recorded. Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks and defensive end Chris Clemons lead the way for the Jags with 7.5 and 7.0 sacks, respectively. While the Jags are great at rushing the passer, the Ravens might be even better at protecting their quarterback. The Ravens are 2nd in the league at limiting sacks, surrendering only 16 on the season. Over the past three weeks, Flacco has only been dropped twice.

Ravens’ Defense vs. Jaguars’ Offense
The Ravens’ defense is tied for 24th with eight INTs, and Blake Bortles leads the league with 16 picks, even though he’s only played in 11 games. Something’s gotta give, and I’m betting on the hometown team. I don’t think that Bortles currently has the ability or the offensive line to burn the Ravens’ exploitable secondary. On the season, Jacksonville has surrendered a league-leading 54 sacks. Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, and company should be able to consistently harass Bortles and force the rookie into making some costly mistakes.

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I can’t imagine the Jaguars having much success against the Ravens’ vaunted run defense. With Denard Robinson out for the remainder of the season, the Jags are going to split carries between Toby Gerhart, Jordan Todman, and Storm Johnson. I would call them a three-headed monster, but that would be a disservice to proud monsters everywhere.

Rapid Fire Notes
• Dumervil (16) and Suggs (8.5) are the NFL’s leading sack duo with 24.5 combined sacks. Last week, they broke the franchise record of 24 combined sacks, set by Trevor Pryce (13) and Adalius Thomas (11) in 2006 (Mink).
• Allen Hurns leads Jacksonville with 566 receiving yards and 6 TDs.
• Cecil Shorts III has struggled mightily this season, catching 40 balls for 419 receiving yards and a TD in 10 games.
• “With the Ravens securing their eighth win Sunday, Harbaugh remains one of four coaches in NFL history to win a Super Bowl and not have a losing season. This elite list includes: Vince Lombardi, John Madden, Mike Tomlin and Harbaugh” (Hensley).

Let’s go Ravens!

cover pic: Linemakers

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