Scouting report

November 28, 1999|By Mike Preston

Ravens run offense vs. Jaguars run defense - JAGUARS EDGE

Ravens guards Jeff Blackshear and Edwin Mulitalo have to control middle linebacker Lonnie Marts, and Kevin Hardy has to be slowed on the back side. The Ravens will find room behind left tackle Jonathan Ogden.

Ravens pass offense vs. Jaguars pass defense - JAGUARS EDGE

The Jaguars are ranked No. 2 against the pass in the league, but that's because they get so much pressure on the quarterback -- they have 41 sacks. But given ample time, the Jaguars can be passed on, and it will be interesting to see how cornerbacks Fernando Bryant and Aaron Beasley match up against receivers Billy Davis and Patrick Johnson, who are now getting more playing time. The key, though, is pass protection, and the Ravens' running backs have to do a better job blocking on the perimeter than a week ago.

Jaguars run offense vs. Ravens run defense - RAVENS EDGE

Unless running back Fred Taylor is healthy, it will be tough for the Jaguars to run against the Ravens, even though Jacksonville has the No. 1 rushing attack. The key matchups are at tackle with Tony Boselli against defensive end Michael McCrary, and Leon Searcy against Rob Burnett.

Jaguars pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense - EVEN

If Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin plays conservatively, this will be a close game. If he doesn't, Jacksonville has the potential to blow away the Ravens. Receivers Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith can handle the Ravens' secondary, especially cornerback DeRon Jenkins, their favorite target. Quarterback Mark Brunell is also smart enough to catch free safety Rod Woodson sitting on routes and burn him on long passes. The only hope in this matchup for the Ravens is to get pressure on Brunell.

Special teams - JAGUARS EDGE

Punter Bryan Barker should have gotten the game ball for his performance against the Ravens two weeks ago, and kicker Mike Hollis is 25 of 28 on field-goal attempts. Ravens punter Kyle Richardson will be motivated because of a poor performance in the last meeting. Matt Stover has improved after a slow start. Jacksonville's advantage comes in return and cover units, where the Ravens have been inconsistent.

Intangibles - RAVENS EDGE

The Ravens held the Jaguars to 132 yards of total offense two weeks ago, so the Jaguars have something to prove. The Ravens feel as though Jacksonville didn't give them proper respect after the last game, a 6-3 Jaguars win, and want to show the league that the best defense resides in Baltimore.

Prediction - JAGUARS EDGE

Air Coughlin opens it up for the second straight week, and Jacksonville wins, 21-13.

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