Jaguars At Ravens

Today, 1 P.m., Ravens Stadium, Ch. 13

October 20, 2002|By Jamison Hensley

SCOUTING REPORT

Ravens run offense vs. Jaguars run defense -- RAVENS

Ranked 26th in run defense, the Jaguars have held only one starting running back (the New York Jets' Curtis Martin) under 82 yards rushing this season. The Ravens, who have the 18th-ranked running attack, will run behind a line that remains a mystery. With right tackle Ethan Brooks banged up, the Ravens will either move left guard Edwin Mulitalo to right tackle and start Casey Rabach at left guard or throw in backup Damion Cook at right tackle. In his past three games, Ravens running back Jamal Lewis has averaged 113 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns.

Key stat: 5.0. Average yards per carry given up by Jacksonville in its past two games.

Ravens pass offense vs. Jaguars pass defense -- JAGUARS

The Ravens have the 31st-ranked passing game, bettering only the Houston Texans. Chris Redman has yet to surpass 212 yards passing this season but has played under control for the most part. He has thrown only three interceptions in 154 attempts -- the second-lowest percentage in the AFC. Receiver Brandon Stokley, who missed last week with a high ankle sprain, is expected to return. The Jaguars are giving up 6.1 yards per pass attempt, eighth best in the league. Cornerback Fernando Bryant has reinvigorated his career, and the other cornerback, Jason Craft, has held up despite continually getting tested. Jacksonville is susceptible in its nickel and dime packages because reserve cornerbacks Kiwaukee Thomas and Ike Charlton have struggled.

Key stat: 31.4. Ravens' third-down conversion rate, which ranks sixth worst in the NFL.

Jaguars run offense vs. Ravens run defense -- RAVENS

For the second straight week, the Ravens are going against a running back coming back from a season-ending injury. Last Sunday, the Ravens shut down the Colts' Edgerrin James without Ray Lewis and will likely be without him today, when they try to contain the Jaguars' Fred Taylor. Lewis is still mending from a partially dislocated left shoulder, but his teammates are better prepared to handle his absence. Ranked eighth against the run, the Ravens face Jacksonville's seventh-ranked rushing attack. Although the Ravens have gone against Taylor just once in two years because of injuries, they consider stopping him a priority with Jacksonville quarterback Mark Brunell not 100 percent.

Key stat: 41. Rushing yards per game by Jaguars running backs in their past four games against the Ravens. Taylor missed three of them due to injuries.

Jaguars pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense -- EVEN

Jacksonville has a decided advantage if Brunell plays. But a concussion suffered last Sunday could push erratic backup David Garrard onto the field. Either way, the Ravens will keep a close watch on receiver Jimmy Smith, who has averaged 112 yards receiving in 12 games against the Ravens. Applying pressure will be key because Jacksonville is starting a makeshift line. Peter Boulware has been a consistent threat, racking up 15 sacks in 10 games against the Jaguars.

Key stat: 7. 300-yard passing games by Brunell in 11 career games against the Ravens.

Special teams -- RAVENS

The Ravens could win the field-position battle since the Jaguars have not helped themselves in the return game. Jacksonville has averaged a league-worst 14.1 yards on kickoff returns and just 4.4 yards on punt returns when taking away Bobby Shaw's 69-yard touchdown runback two weeks ago. Jaguars punter Chris Hanson is boasting a 47.9-yard average. Their kicker, rookie Hayden Epstein, has missed all three attempts beyond 40 yards. Last Sunday, Jacksonville got fooled badly on a fake punt, which led to a field goal.

Key stat: 1. Touchbacks on Ravens kickoff specialist J.R. Jenkins' past 19 tries.

Intangibles -- RAVENS

After losing the first eight games in this series, the Ravens have won the past four meetings. If the Ravens want to stay in playoff contention, they have to win their home games against teams like the Jaguars. With the Pittsburgh Steelers on the horizon, the Ravens realize today's game may have a ripple effect. That's a motivational advantage.

Prediction -- RAVENS

The Ravens know they can play without Ray Lewis. The Jaguars cannot say the same without a healthy Brunell. The Ravens won't let this one slip away, escaping with a 21-17 win over Jacksonville.

BREAK DOWN

Records

Jaguars 3-2 Ravens 2-3

Line

Ravens by 1 1/2

Vs. spread

Jaguars 4-1 Ravens 3-2

Series

Jaguars lead 8-4

Last meeting

Ravens won, 24-21, on Nov. 25, 2001, at Jacksonville.

NFL rankings

Jaguars offense: Rush (7), pass (24), overall (17).

Jaguars defense: Rush (26), pass (16), overall (24).

Ravens offense: Rush (18), pass (31), overall (30).

Ravens defense: Rush (8), pass (27), overall (20).

Quick hits

The Jaguars' offense is the NFL's fourth best in yards per play (5.8).

Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has 1,344 receiving yards and 10 TDs in his career vs. the Ravens - his most vs. any opponent.

Eight of teams' 12 meetings have been decided by three points or fewer.

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