Jaguars At Ravens

PSINet Stadium, 1 p.m., chs. 13, 9

October 28, 2001


Ravens rushing vs. Jaguars run defense -- EVEN

Ravens running back Jason Brookins will be making his first NFL start, replacing the injured Terry Allen. While Brookins runs with authority, his endurance is still in question. Jacksonville is giving up 117 yards on the ground per game. Jaguars outside linebacker T.J. Slaughter, the team's third-leading tackler, is questionable with ankle and knee injuries.

Ravens passing vs. Jaguars pass defense -- EVEN

Ravens quarterback Elvis Grbac has not practiced all week with bruised ribs, and his availability is a game-time decision. Backup quarterback Randall Cunningham has led three touchdown drives in mop-up duty the past two games but is completing just 47.2 percent of his passes. Tight end Shannon Sharpe, the Ravens' leading receiver with 31 catches, should play despite being listed as questionable with a knee injury. Ravens right guard Bennie Anderson has to hold off Gary Walker, who leads the Jaguars with 10 quarterback pressures. Opponents have completed passes at a 65 percent clip against Jacksonville.

Jaguars rushing vs. Ravens run defense -- RAVENS

With franchise back Fred Taylor out with a strained groin, there are rumblings that the Jaguars may promote undrafted rookie Elvis Joseph to starter. Stacey Mack has lost favor after two straight mistake-prone performances. The Ravens' iron-clad run defense faltered a bit last week against Cleveland, which gained 88 yards rushing. But the Ravens are still surrendering a league-low 2.6 yards per carry.

Jaguars passing vs. Ravens pass defense -- JAGUARS

Jacksonville's Mark Brunell-Jimmy Smith combination has historically been a nightmare for the Ravens. Brunell has thrown for 300 yards six times in nine games against the Ravens. Smith has five 100-yard receiving performances in 10 meetings. The pressure will be on Ravens cornerbacks Duane Starks and Chris McAlister. Ravens pass rushers Michael McCrary and Peter Boulware will have their shots at Brunell in going against inexperienced tackles Todd Fordham and Maurice Williams.

Special teams -- RAVENS

The Ravens solved their most pressing need, signing kickoff specialist Danny Kight. Their kickoff coverage team has allowed opponents to start at the 30-yard line, the worst average in the AFC. Jermaine Lewis will have his opportunities against Jacksonville, which is 26th in the NFL in covering punts. The Ravens have the NFL's top punt coverage team, led by James Trapp's crushing hits.

Intangibles -- RAVENS

After spending four of the past five weekends on the road, the Ravens return to PSINet Stadium, where they have won seven straight games. The Jaguars have lost four of their past six on the road. Both teams should be equally hungry, with Jacksonville losing three in a row and the Ravens riding a two-game skid. But with games next at Pittsburgh and Tennessee, the Ravens cannot afford to let this rare home game slip away.

Prediction -- RAVENS

With the Ravens' offense wounded, the defense needs to impose its will on this game. The big-play charity has to stop here. Ravens, 17-9.

-- Jamison Hensley

Inside slant

Ravens scout George Kokinis sizes up the Jaguars:

Strength:To me, Gary Walker is one of the best defensive tackles in the league. He's strong, quick and has long arms. When they need a play, he's usually involved, whether it's penetrating on the goal line or coming up with a big sack. The other tackle, Seth Payne, is off to his best start, and left end Renaldo Wynn is a quiet producer.

Weakness:On paper, Jack- sonville's third-down efficiency on offense is ranked 29th in the league. But what keeps me up at night is when you're looking down the barrel at quarterback Mark Brunell, receivers Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell and tight end Kyle Brady. To me, you can only hold that group down for so long because it's too explosive.

Matchup to watch:In pass- ing situations, Ravens defensive end Michael McCrary and linebacker Peter Boulware vs. Jaguars offensive tackles Maurice Williams and Todd Fordham. Williams is a good athlete who will line up against Boulware. He seems to be getting better every week, with the typical rookie growing pains. Fordham, who replaces Tony Boselli and will go against McCrary, is a fighter and has got some size.


Ravens offense

WR 87 Qadry Ismail

LT 75 Jonathan Ogden

LG 64 Edwin Mulitalo

C 62 Mike Flynn

RG 66 Bennie Anderson

RT 77 Kipp Vickers

TE 82 Shannon Sharpe

WR 89 Travis Taylor

QB 18 Elvis Grbac

RB 44 Jason Brookins

FB 32 Sam Gash

Jaguars defense

LE 97 Renaldo Wynn

LT 96 Gary Walker

RT 91 Seth Payne

RE 90 Tony Brackens

SLB 51 Kevin Hardy

MLB 56 Hardy Nickerson

WLB 53 T.J. Slaughter

LCB 25 Fernando Bryant

RCB 21 Aaron Beasley

SS 26 Ainsley Battles

FS 32 Marlon McCree

Jaguars offense

WR 82 Jimmy Smith

LT 78 Todd Fordham

LG 63 Brad Meester

C 73 Jeff Smith

RG 77 Zach Wiegert

RT 74 Maurice Williams

TE 80 Kyle Brady

WR 87 Keenan


QB 8 Mark Brunell

FB 31 Patrick Washington

RB 34 Stacey Mack

Ravens defense

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