Week 7: Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday October 24, 2011 8:35 PM
Line: Ravens -8 O/U 40
Are you ready for some football? A Monday night party? Although we will no longer have Bocephus entertaining us prior to kick off, the Ravens appear to be ready for prime time to face-off against the one win Jaguars of Jacksonville. Despite the fact the NFL hates Baltimore and refuses to allow them to play a MNF game at home, the Birds of Baltimore look to continue their hot streak and make it four in a row. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this week’s keys to the game.
RavensGab.com Keys to the Game
Much like containing Arian Foster was a key component of the Ravens victory over the Texans, this week against Jacksonville, the Ravens have to focus on bottling up Maurice Jones-Drew. If you take his presence out of the equation, then all you’re left with are so/so receivers, a so/so TE and a rookie quarterback throwing the ball.
Beating Jones-Drew is a microcosm of beating the Jaguars. It all starts here.
Keep the Burners Hot
Against Pittsburgh last weekend, the Jaguars almost mounted an impressive come from behind victory. On top of that, their defense didn’t allow a single point to be scored after half time. If the Ravens aren’t careful the Jags could trap them.
They prevent this from happening by keeping the jets going from whistle to whistle. If you don’t give up on the pressure, there’s no way for a team to fight its way back into a contest. Strike hard, strike first, no mercy. Yes! Sensei!
Exploit Blaine Gabbert
Blaine Gabbert is slowly improving by the week, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he’s a rookie quarterback. If he makes mistakes on Monday night, and he will, the Ravens have got to exploit them and make him pay. Let him hang around and he’ll eventually put up the numbers on you like he did to Pittsburgh. Get after him, and capitalize every single time he flinches. After all, this is a young kid playing on Monday night for the first time in his career.
Protect Joe Flacco
Something that has been generally missed this year by the sports media is how much Joe Flacco has matured in terms of his special awareness. He’s getting absolutely brutalized in the backfield this year but he’s not making the same mistakes he would have made in the past (ok he still does sometimes, but not nearly as often). He’s not getting happy feet, he’s not standing still on the field, and he’s not trying as hard to force passes under pressure. He’s been stepping up into the pocket, moving around and waiting for plays to develop.
The problem is his line is allowing him to get absolutely killed. Although Joe’s not taking the sacks, he is getting hit a ton during games this season. His line has to do a better job of keeping their QB upright so he’s not getting so banged around during games.
Just Win Baby!
To quote Skeletor Al Davis, the most important thing for the Ravens right now is to just win. The real key is going to be having the best record possible heading into the matchup with Pittsburgh on November 6th. Sitting at 6-1 in that matchup will feel a pant load better than 5-2 or god forbid 4-3. The Ravens have to do what they do best and put away the lesser opponents.
Ravens Gab Predictions
Jonathon Scruggs (4-1)
The Ravens are 5-1 all time against the Jaguars. I don’t expect that trend to change this weekend, and I fully expect the Ravens to walk into a day off on Tuesday smiling from another victory notch on the belt.
Ravens 27 — Jaguars 13
Matt Jergensen (3-2)
Jacksonville is another banged up one dimensional team for the Ravens to face this Monday. I have slight concerns about the Jaguars defense and Maurice Jones-Drew but otherwise the Ravens biggest obstacle to a victory are themselves.
Ravens 31 – Jaguars 14
Gene Winner (4-1)
“The real question is can the Jaguars rookie QB last the entire game? Jacksonville has injuries to their offensive line resulting in reshuffling, and that is not good facing the Ravens D. Look for the usual Cam Cameron passing early game plan then the running of Ray Rice to close it out. Jacksonvile’s defense is play decently, so it could be tight for a little while.”
Ravens 27 – Jaguars 13
Ben Zinman (2-0)
Jacksonville is ranked 27th in total offense. The Ravens are ranked #1 in total defense The Ravens defense will dare Blaine Gabbert to throw deep.
Ravens 31 – Jaguars 10