At JAGUARS (3-6)

RAVENS (6-4)

ALLTEL Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla., 4:15 p.m., chs. 13, 9

November 25, 2001|By Jamison Hensley


Ravens rushing vs. Jaguars run defense -- EVEN

In the last meeting with the Jaguars, Ravens running back Jason Brookins ran for 77 yards and a touchdown in the second half. Last Sunday, Brookins gained a season-high 89 yards on 21 carries. While the Jaguars have given up an average of 119 yards on the ground the past four games, they have solid talent with linebackers Hardy Nickerson and Kevin Hardy, who combined for 18 tackles against the Ravens.

Ravens passing vs. Jaguars pass defense -- EVEN

Elvis Grbac has struggled mightily this season. He has thrown 13 interceptions in eight starts and has a quarterback rating of 69.5, which ranks 28th in the league. But Grbac can take chances today against a Jacksonville defense that has just six interceptions on 2,134 passes - the worst percentage in the league. Ranked 20th in the league in pass defense, Jacksonville has allowed its past five opponents to complete 69 percent of their passes (122 of 176) for an average of 254 yards a game.

Jaguars rushing vs. Ravens run defense -- RAVENS

With starting defensive ends Michael McCrary and Rob Burnett out with injuries, the Ravens will go with Peter Boulware and Adalius Thomas. Boulware, a Pro Bowl performer at outside linebacker, has played end in pass-rushing situations but hasn't been at that position full-time since his Florida State days. Brad Jackson, whose skills are better against the pass, takes over for Boulware at outside linebacker. Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Cleveland all produced 90 or more yards rushing vs. the Ravens the past three weeks. Without injured running back Fred Taylor for most of the season, the Jacksonville ground game has flopped. It ranks third-worst in the league.

Jaguars passing vs. Ravens pass defense -- JAGUARS

Jacksonville quarterback Mark Brunell was sidelined last Sunday with a strained quadriceps but is expected to start today. He has six 300-yard games in 10 starts against the Ravens. Even without Brunell, the Ravens still have to figure out how to stop receiver Jimmy Smith. He has made a career against the Ravens, averaging 116.7 yards in 11 games - the third best per-game receiving mark by a player against an opponent since 1970. The Ravens are hurting in the secondary. Cornerback Duane Starks, who is often picked on by Brunell, and nickel back James Trapp are banged up.

Special teams -- EVEN

In danger of losing his job, Ravens kickoff specialist Danny Kight needs to start reaching the end zone. The kickoff coverage has been averaging one big return a game. The Jaguars' Damon Gibson broke a 35-yard return against the Ravens. He didn't have a chance to return a punt since the Ravens' Kyle Richardson placed three kicks inside the 20. While the Ravens' Matt Stover has converted 17 straight field goals, Jacksonville's Mike Hollis is the NFL's fifth-most accurate field-goal kicker in its history at 81.6 percent.

Intangibles -- JAGUARS

The Ravens haven't scored a touchdown in their past 10 quarters played in Jacksonville. At 3-6, the Jaguars see their season on the line today. Jacksonville has the third-best home record since 1996, winning 35 of 45 home games.

Prediction -- RAVENS

Elvis Grbac does his best Trent Dilfer impersonation and Ravens return to winning with Matt Stover's leg. The Ravens survive, 19-17.

Inside slant

Ravens scout George Kokinis sizes up the Jaguars:

Strength: Run defense. Their two interior guys - tackles Gary Walker and Seth Payne - are playing at a high level. Payne is extremely strong and controls the line of scrimmage. Walker can get the penetration whether it's through straight power or quickness. The linebacker group is healthy and strong-side linebacker Kevin Hardy is having a Pro Bowl year. Weakness: Injuries on offense. Being without running back Fred Taylor, quarterback Mark Brunell and left tackle Tony Boselli has hurt them. The Ravens are preparing like Brunell will play but it would be a shocker if they see Taylor. The Jags lack that one-punch explosiveness that Taylor gives you. Jacksonville's backup running back, Stacey Mack, is similar to Jason Brookins in style. Matchup to watch: Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith (third in AFC with 63 catches) vs. the world. The Ravens should try the inverted box-in-one, putting four defenders on Smith and leaving one guy on the rest of the receivers. Teams double cover Smith. They play a guy over the top. They zone against him. And he still catches the football. Smith and Brunell have good communication and see the same picture.


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

CB 25 Fernando Bryant

CB 21 Aaron Beasley

SS 20 Donovin Darius

FS 32 Marlon McCree

Jaguars offense

WR 82 Jimmy Smith

LT 78 Todd Fordham

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