The feeling around Jacksonville is clearly doom and gloom right now, and for good reason -- the Jaguars just put up a stinker against a team that many, including myself, thought they should beat. But let's not blow this out of proportion . . . they lost one game on the West Coast where the Jags are 2-10 all time. It was ugly, but it doesn't mean the rest of the season will leave fans with the same bitter taste in their mouths. While the Jaguars lofty expectations heading into 2016 have been dampened greatly, this is still a team loaded with young talent. That said, the Ravens are 2-0 and like the Packers and Chargers they boast one of the more experienced and talented quarterbacks in the NFL. Joe Flacco is the master of the deep ball and with the newly acquired Mike Wallace the Ravens offense has serious big play potential. While they do have potential to put up points in a hurry, both of Baltimore's wins came against teams going through issues of their own. The Bills have already fired their offensive coordinator, while the Browns can't seem to keep a quarterback healthy. And the Ravens barely won both of those contests. The Jaguars defense will have a tough task for the third straight week, but the Ravens offense isn't near as potent as the Packers or Chargers. The Jaguars will have confidence from beating the Ravens in Baltimore just a season ago, and playing them tough the season prior. The Jags will play much smarter and cleaner than they did in San Diego. The Ravens will have a chip on their shoulder after losing to the Jaguars on their home field last season, but the Jaguars have too much talent and pride to lose their third straight game. The Jaguars offense will seemingly come to life while the penalties and silly mistakes will be greatly reduced this week.
Final Score: BAL 24, JAX 31
This is hard to predict. On paper, the Jaguars are easily better than the Ravens, who have question marks across their entire roster. 2 weeks ago I predicted that this would be a slaughter in favor of the Jags, but now I can’t make that kind of prediction after seeing how poorly we played last week. However, I think the hype that’s starting to build around the Ravens after wins over a horrible Buffalo team (which held them to 13 points despite their defensive injuries) and the worst team in the NFL in the Cleveland Browns (who scored 20 straight points on them before Josh McCown suffered a shoulder injury) is a bit short sided.
This game, I think TJ Yeldon and (hopefully) Chris Ivory are going to go off against a Baltimore defense that has allowed 210 rushing yards at 4.5 YPC in the first two weeks of the season. They’ve shut down Tyrod Taylor and played a half well against an injured Josh McCown, but all Bortles needs to do is not turn the ball over. The Ravens have a negative TO Ratio this season, which can be exploited if we’d just take care of the ball. The run defense should have a much easier time against a Baltimore offense that averages 3 YPC on the ground. We need to convert on 3rd downs at an adequate clip and not turn the ball over to win this game, which is definitely possible.
Final Score: BAL 20, JAX 23
The Jaguars haven’t exactly been lighting it up in the opening weeks of the 2016 season, but I fully expect for them to come out with the urgency of an underperforming 0-2 team. The Ravens haven’t lost a game but they certainly aren’t unbeatable with the talent that we have on our team.
The Jaguars will need to get off to a quicker start than we’ve seen in weeks past and Blake cannot have any more unforced turnovers. The Ravens have a solid front on defense and we will need to get rid of the ball quickly to combat our own weaknesses on the offensive line, which will be even thinner due of injuries. I anticipate a low scoring game but, even after the crappy showings against the Chargers, I think the Jaguars are capable of squeaking out a win.
Final Score: BAL 16, JAX 21
After getting embarrassed by a very mediocre team in the San Diego Chargers last week, the Jaguars now find themselves in must win territory and with Head Coach Gus Bradley on the hot seat its time to win now. Fortunately they play the Baltimore Ravens this week, but if they play the way they did last week they'll have a hard time winning any games this year.
Baltimore's defense is really good this year ranking 4th in points allowed, 2nd in yards allowed, 1st against the pass and 16th against the run through the first two weeks of the season. The ranking that sticks out the most is being first against the pass so both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns will need to come up big for Blake Bortles this week. I just don't believe Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright are going to lock the Allens down all game. Obviously, the running game needs to be much better than it has been ranking 30th in the league (58.5 YPG) and with RB Chris Ivory available for this game it should be. With OLB Elvis Dumervil returning to Ravens practice this week, along with the injuries to LT Kelvin Beachum and C Brandon Linder the Jaguars should be be a run first team this week. Lastly on the offensive side of the ball, 3rd downs have killed us this year going 6-26, so sustaining drives and retaining possession will play a major part in the outcome of this game.
Defensively, the Jaguars only bright spot is being ranked inside the top 10 in pass defense through two games (8th). Getting to the quarterback and stopping the run are the areas where this team is struggling as a unit. And giving up A LOT of points. Keeping an eye on TE Dennis Pitta should be a top priority in this game and if Paul Posluszny is in coverage it could be a long day for this defense. Why Myles Jack isn't playing is beyond me at this point because Posluszny has been mediocre to say the least. Don't get me wrong he is a formidable LB in this league but doesn't have near the athleticism to be covering TE's and Slot receivers down field. Secondly the Jaguars need to keep this running game bottled up and make them one dimensional. The duo of Justin Forsett and Terrance West have yet to get anything going themselves this year accounting for 152 yards on 47 carries combined. Starting LG John Urschel has returned to practice and is available so Malik Jackson and Roy Miller need to have a big day closing up running lanes. The last key on defense is the secondary. CB Prince Amukamara is listed as questionable and is unlikely to play this week along with CB Davon House, putting a lot of pressure on rookie Jalen Ramsey who will likely line up against the Ravens number one wideout Steve Smith. That leaves 4th year corner Dwayne Gratz covering Mike Wallace and inexperienced Josh Johnson covering the slot or vice versa. It can definitely get bad this week with this secondary, but if they can limit the big plays from Smith and Wallace that will definitely help their cause.
Final Score: BAL 27, JAX 24
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