The annual London contest takes place this Sunday, and the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars will attempt to help the NFL find a foothold on another continent. For some of the players, this will be their first trip to the United Kingdom, but it’s important that they remember that this is a business trip. The Ravens are coming off two dominating defensive performances, after only allowing 10 total points, as well as forcing 10 total turnovers against the Bengals and Browns. The Jaguars on the other hand are trying to find some consistency after dominating the Texans in week one, but giving up 37 points to the Titans in week two.
How The Jaguars Win:
The Jaguars and Ravens have had competitive match-ups over the past three years with only a four-point average margin of victory. The Jaguars have been hoping for the emergence of Blake Bortles since being drafted in 2014, but it appears that it may be ready to call this experiment a failure. Bortles turned the ball over three times against the Titans last Sunday, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if there is quarterback change in the near future. The key to a Jaguars victory will rely on the legs of Leonard Fournette and the young Jags defense.
Fournette has 140 yards on 40 carries going into week three, and he will need to touch the ball at least 25-30 times to give his team a chance at winning this game. The Ravens allowed 93 yards against the Browns in week two, and with the injury to Brandon Williams, the middle of the front line will be vulnerable to the 228 pounds that Fournette will be running with. The injury of Marshal Yanda adds more problems to an already-average offensive line for the Ravens, but the Jaguars will look to exploit the middle of the line and give Flacco happy feet. Calais Campbell has 4 sacks going into this game, so his success in getting into the backfield will be paramount in keeping this game close.
How the Ravens Win:
The Ravens have been shocking the football world with their dominant defense and efficient offense over the past two weeks. Marshal Yanda’s presence will surely be missed on that offensive line for the rest of the season, but the Ravens have been dealing with key injuries at many positions since mini-camp already. Blake Bortles is a turnover machine, and the Ravens defense will help put their offense in plenty of scoring situations early in this game. Terrell Suggs has been on a tear so far, racking up 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. The Ravens pass rush has brought the quarterback down 8 times as a team, and will need to continue that run this week.
The rushing attack will again need to be paramount for the Ravens offense to succeed this week. The Ravens have gained almost 300 yards of rushing offense in two games, and that kind of success opens up the play action game for Joe Flacco. With a restructured offensive line, it will be important for Flacco to get the ball out fast to avoid taking hits; this passing attack will need to involve more of the tight ends and likes of Michael Campanaro to keep the defense from blitzing all out. Mike Wallace will try to make more of an effort to make plays as Jeremy Maclin already has 2 touchdowns, and he has already voiced that he wants the ball more.
Prediction: Ravens 17, Jaguars 6
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