Scouting report

November 14, 1999|By Mike Preston

Ravens run offense vs. Jaguars run defense -- EDGE EVEN

This should be a great matchup. Despite offensive problems, the Ravens have been able to run the ball, averaging 121.4 yards per game. Jacksonville is allowing only 85.8 yards per game. A key matchup is Ravens right guard Jeff Blackshear against left tackle Gary Walker. The Ravens also have to stop weak-side linebacker Kevin Hardy, and running backs Errict Rhett and Priest Holmes will have to beat strong safety Donovin Darius once they get past the line of scrimmage.

Ravens pass offense vs. Jaguars pass defense -- JAGUARS EDGE

Jacksonville cornerbacks Fernando Bryant and Aaron Beasley will press cover receivers Jermaine Lewis, Justin Armour and Qadry Ismail because the Jaguars like to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Despite the Jaguars having the No. 1 pass defense in the league, the Ravens will have chances to make big plays over the middle and with the long ball. The Ravens, though, will have a tough time protecting quarterback Tony Banks.

Jaguars run offense vs. Ravens run defense -- JAGUARS EDGE

The Jaguars have a nasty offensive line led by tackles Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy. The Ravens will need stellar games from tackles Tony Siragusa and Larry Webster to cause interruptions up front and also keep the guards off middle linebacker Ray Lewis. The Ravens, especially weak-side linebacker Jamie Sharper, have to stay in their lanes because Fred Taylor is a great cutback runner. Jacksonville has the league's No. 1 running game, averaging 141.9 yards a game.

Jaguars pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense -- JAGUARS EDGE

The Ravens are ranked No. 3 in the league in pass defense, but that's because of the pressure they put on the quarterback. Jacksonville receivers Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith have handled the Ravens' secondary with ease during the past three years and they'll probably work over young cornerbacks Duane Starks and Chris McAlister fairly well today.

Special teams -- EDGE EVEN

Both punters, Kyle Richardson of the Ravens and Bryan Barker of the Jaguars, are having great seasons. With the game on the line, Jaguars kicker Mike Hollis is more dependable than the Ravens' Matt Stover. Both teams are struggling with punt returns, but the Ravens have better kickoff and kickoff return teams.

Intangibles -- RAVENS EDGE

The Ravens have not beaten Jacksonville in six games and would like to build on last week's convincing win over the Browns. Jacksonville hasn't lost to the Browns/Ravens in eight games. The Jaguars know they are the better team and have little else to prove.

Prediction -- JAGUARS EDGE The Jaguars will wear the Ravens down in the second half and cruise to victory. Jaguars, 25-10.

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