Opponent Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)
The (4-1) Ravens head to Jacksonville for a primetime match-up on Monday Night Football. Though Jacksonville is coming off a loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday, the team played well in the second half. The Jaguars will look to build off their second half performance in Pittsburgh as they get ready to take on the Ravens on Monday night.
Defense: Jacksonville made a number of free agent signing in the offseason. Some notables acquired on defense: SS Dawan Landry (former Raven), LB Clint Sessions, LB Paul Poslunszny, DE Matt Roth, DE Aaron Kampman. The unit is ranked 8th against the pass allowing 210.3 yards per game. Versus the run the defense is ranked 19th, allowing an average of 115.0 yds. per game.
Standout’s on defense: Cornerback Rashean Mathis has 1 interception this season (30 career) and 3 pass deflections. Safety Dwight Lowery has 2 interceptions and 3 pass deflections. LB Paul Poslunszny is playing at a high level leading the team in tackles (55) and had a career high 16 tackles against Pittsburgh. DT Tyson Alualu does a good job clogging up the middle.
Offense: On offense the big move was releasing veteran QB David Garrard. The team’s first round pick Blaine Gabbert is the starting quarterback and he’s off to a slow start. However, Gabbert made some good plays against Pittsburgh last week throwing for a TD (The rookie QB has thrown a TD in all of his starts this season). Through free agency the team signed offensive lineman Jason Spits, formerly with Green Bay. As a unit the offensive line hasn’t been consistent and been dealing with injuries, resulting in poor pass protection; QB Gabbert has been sacked 14 times. The offense is ranked 32nd in passing yards, 137.7 pass yards and 10th in rushing, 122.7 yards per game.
Offensive Playmakers: The best weapon on team is running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Against the Steelers he rushed for 96 yards on 22 carries. This season Jones-Drew is has rushed for 572 yards, has a 4.8 average, 2 TD’s. Third year player receiver Mike Thomas is having a productive season, leading the team with 27 rec., 301 yards and 1 TD. Running back Deji Karim is a good back up to Jones-Drew and is effective out of the backfield. On the season Karim has 9 rec. for 95 yards. The offense has a solid tight end in Mercedes Lewis. Note: The team resigned receiver Mike Sims-Walker. Walker signed with the Rams but was released. Before joining the Rams, Walker spent four season in Jacksonville.
Last Game: vs. Pittsburgh: The Jaguars struggled early but made a game of it, the final was 13 – 17. Gabbert had a decent outing throwing for 1 TD (12/26 109 yards). The team ran the ball effectively as well; rushing for a total of 118 yards (Jones-Drew accounted for 96 yards). The defense stepped up big time after the half, and held Pittsburgh to 70 yards of offense in the second half. The defense also took advantage of Pittsburgh’s ailing offensive line with 3 sacks and forcing a fumble. Roethlisberger threw for 200 yards and a touchdown, but completed just one pass in the second half. However, the Jaguars run defense allowed 176 yards on the ground (RB Rashard Mendenhall accounted for 146 yards).
Advantage Ravens: Jacksonville’s offense faces one of the top defenses in the league. The Ravens defense has given up the fewest points in the NFL at 71.0 points on the season, an average of 14.2 points a game. Jacksonville (offense) ranks 31st in points scored, averaging a meager 12.0 points per contest.
Key match-up: The Ravens defense will focus in of slowing down Maurice Jones-Drew who is one of the top running backs in the NFL. The Ravens run defense is ranked 3rd stopping the run, 76.6 rushing yards per game.
Jacksonville – Additional Stats:
Points For 72 – Points Against 132
Total Offensive Touchdowns: 6 (4 passing, 2 rushing),
Field goals: 10
Offense: First down rushing: 37 (rank 11th)
Offense: First down passing: 40 (rank 32nd)