Ravens Vs. Jaguars

Nfl Week 9

M&t Bank Stadium, 1 P.m., Ch. 13

November 02, 2003|By Jamison Hensley

SCOUTING REPORT

Ravens run offense vs. Jaguars run defense -- RAVENS

It is a battle of strength against strength. Fueling the league's top rushing attack, the Ravens' Jamal Lewis is averaging 5.9 yards a carry. Bolstered by beefy tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson, the Jaguars' defense is giving up 3.2 yards a carry, which is second best in NFL. But Jacksonville was exposed last Sunday in the fourth quarter, when the Titans ran 16 times in a 17-play drive. Lewis accounts for 45 percent of the Ravens' total offense. It'll be interesting to see whether the Jaguars will stay with seven players in the box when most teams have trouble stopping Lewis with eight and nine players stacking the line.

Ravens pass offense vs. Jaguars pass defense -- EVEN

The Jaguars play a deep zone (keeping their safeties far back), so patience will be key for Kyle Boller. The rookie quarterback has made strides each week and hasn't thrown an interception in 44 passes. Tight end Todd Heap has five catches of 20 or more yards the past two weeks and will be a matchup problem downfield for Jacksonville. Jaguars cornerbacks Fernando Bryant and Jason Craft are average. Quarterbacks have had plenty of time to complete 62.6 percent of their passes against Jacksonville, which has recorded only six sacks in its past six games.

Jaguars run offense vs. Ravens run defense -- RAVENS

Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor gouged the Ravens for 150 yards last season when Ray Lewis was out with a shoulder injury. With Lewis back in the middle, the Ravens have limited teams to 94.6 rushing yards a game. Over the past two games, the Ravens have given up just 2.9 yards a carry. Taylor is still an elusive back, but the six-year veteran has gained more than 87 yards just once this season because of a ragged offensive line. Before last year, Taylor hadn't cracked 54 yards against the Ravens since 1999.

Jaguars pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense -- RAVENS

The Ravens catch a break with rookie Byron Leftwich starting at quarterback instead of Mark Brunell, who has had seven 300-yard passing games in 12 meetings. Leftwich, the seventh pick in the NFL draft, has thrown three interceptions in three of his four starts. Receiver Jimmy Smith has 17 catches for 262 yards in three games this season and likely will be shadowed by Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister, who has negated the 11-year veteran the past two meetings. Ranked 12th in pass defense, the Ravens will be without cornerback Corey Fuller (groin and hamstring). But they won't lose much in the secondary, where free safety Gary Baxter shifts to cornerback and Will Demps moves into the starting lineup.

Special teams -- RAVENS

The Ravens have the edge in coverage teams and in the kicking game. The Ravens' Matt Stover has converted 14 of 16 field-goal tries this season, while Jaguars rookie Seth Marler is 10-for-15. The Jaguars' punt and kickoff coverage teams rank in the bottom five of the league, while the Ravens' units sit in the top 12. This could be the game in which new Ravens returner Dedric Ward breaks a long one.

Intangibles -- RAVENS

In a series once dominated by Jacksonville, the Ravens have won five straight games by a combined 19 points. The Ravens' last loss to the Jaguars came in 1999. The Jaguars have had the most off-the-field distractions in the league this season and released linebacker T.J. Slaughter on Tuesday after he was charged with assault. Jacksonville is 0-3 on the road this season, losing in Carolina, Indianapolis and Houston.

Prediction -- RAVENS

History says it will be a close game. Reality says it will be a blowout. Jamal Lewis will have another huge effort and the defense will come up big with at least three interceptions of Leftwich. It'll be a day when even instant replay will go the Ravens' way. Ravens, 30-10.

GAME FACTS

Records

Jaguars 1-6 Ravens 4-3

Line

Ravens by 6 1/2

Vs. spread

Jaguars 2-5 Ravens 4-3

Series

Jaguars lead 8-5

Last meeting

Ravens won, 17-10, on Oct. 20, 2002, in Baltimore.

NFL rankings

Jaguars offense: Overall (14), rush (22), pass (7).

Jaguars defense: Overall (10), rush (6), pass (19).

Ravens offense: Overall (21), rush (1), pass (31).

Ravens defense: Overall (5), rush (8), pass (12).

Quick hits

Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich has thrown for a TD in six consecutive games.

In 13 career games vs. the Ravens, Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has 88 catches for 1,407 yards and 10 TDs.

The Ravens are 11-5 in November under coach Brian Billick.

Ravens LB Peter Boulware has 14 1/2 sacks in 11 games vs. the Jaguars, including three in the past two meetings.

Injuries

JAGUARS: Out: DE Lionel Barnes (calf); QB Mark Brunell (elbow); CB James Trapp (ankle-IR). Doubtful: CB Jason Craft (knee). Questionable: LB Keith Mitchell (neck); WR Jimmy Redmond (foot). Probable: CB Kiwaukee Thomas (groin).

RAVENS: Doubtful: CB Corey Fuller (leg). Probable: TE Todd Heap (shoulder); CB Tom Knight (leg); RB Jamal Lewis (shoulder); LB Bart Scott (leg).

STARTING LINEUPS

Ravens offense

TE 82 Terry Jones

LT 75 Jonathan Ogden

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