Baltimore Ravens vs Jacksonville Jaguars: Final Prediction


Nov 30, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) runs on to the field prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are almost historically bad, winning just two games to this point in the season. The Baltimore Ravens have played two other teams like that: the 2-11 Tennessee Titans and the 2-11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In those two games, the Ravens’ average margin of victory was 22.5. Needless to say, the Ravens have cleaned up against the weakest teams on their schedule. Expect them to do it again as they host the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Expect the Ravens to come out with a balanced attack. The Jaguars actually do a good job defending the run, despite their 28th ranking in run defense. Their pass defense is abysmal, however, giving up 7.7 yards per pass and a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio. The only reason the Jaguars rank 18th in pass defense is because opponents have consistently jumped out to big leads, forcing them to use the ground game to keep the clock running.

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Quick passes and physical running should be the order of the day early for the Ravens. The Jaguars pass rush is good enough to make the deep ball dangerous, but their secondary should allow plenty of yards after the catch to guys like Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken. Torrey Smith remains a game-time decision, and I see no reason to rush him back against the lowly Jaguars.

On the other side of the ball, the Ravens will need to rely on their fierce pass rush to fluster rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. They should be able to do so against a Jaguars offensive line that has allowed 54 sacks this year. Expect at least one fumble from Blake Bortles and quite likely an interception as well.

Without Denard Robinson, the Jaguars will not be able to get the ground game going at all. There is no reason to fear Toby Gerhart.

With all this in mind, the game should go something like this: The Ravens will score on at least two of their first three drives with a balanced attack. Meanwhile, the Jaguars offense may get a few first downs, but the Ravens should hold them scoreless early. With a multiple score lead, the Ravens will pound the rock with Lorenzo Taliaferro and Bernard Pierce, mixing in the occasional pass just to keep the Jaguars off-balance. Justin Forsett might be extra motivated to take on the team that cut him, but there is no reason to feature him too much and risk injury.

Joe Flacco, meanwhile, might not have a huge day, but it should be an efficient one. With the Jags struggles in the secondary, though, there remains the possibility Flacco has a repeat of his brilliant Tampa Bay performance.

At some point, the Ravens’ defense will ice the game with a turnover, either taking it back for a score or allowing the offense to finish the Jags off with another score.

The Jags might get some garbage time points late when the Ravens switch to a prevent defense, but it will be too little, too late.

Final prediction: Ravens 38, Jaguars 13

Editor’s Note: Lorenzo Taliaferro has been listed as inactive