By Maximillian C. Burgos | Staff Writer
The Baltimore Ravens travel London, England to square of against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game is the first of the day on Sunday, staring 9:30 A.M. EST. The Ravens will be looking to stay undefeated while the Jaguars will be looking to pull their second upset in three weeks.
Ravens are the heavy favorite coming into the game, according to public polls done by Covers.com. The public matchup says 70% in the Ravens favor while experts cautiously favored them with a more conservative 65%.
This could be due to the Ravens poor passing offense and the Jaguars ability to make passers sweat this season.
Both teams have strong running games coming into the season. The Jaguars rookies running back Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, has already shown his ability to electrify the ground-game this season, earning two touchdowns with some solid rushing performances. The Ravens running backs have also been solid. Javorius Allen is the leader on the team at the moment with 137 yards with no touchdowns to speak of.
The Ravens; however, do have a better running game. They are tied for third-best in NFL on the ground, while the Jaguars are only ranked ninth overall on the ground.
Both teams rank in the bottom ten with their passing games, neither team is averaging more than 170 yards a game. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has not been the same since his knee injury and it shows in his presence on the field. He had a good year last year, but his year, he has already throw two interceptions.
The Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has a QBR of 26.0 at the moment. Not much more needs to be said other than that. Even in the upset win against the Houston Texans in the season-opener, Bortles did not contribute much at all. He only threw for 125 yards, complete 52.4% of his passes, and threw only one touchdown. If not for the Jaguars surprisingly dominant defense in that game, the Jaguars may not have stood a chance.
Even though Jaguars defense was solid against the Texans, they are still tied for 19th in points against, averaging 22.0. The Ravens, on the other hand, continue to be a defensive powerhouse, averaging 5.0 points per game, ranking them 2nd in the league. Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley is punishing the opposition in the middle of their defense, while safety Lardarius Webb punishes quarterbacks mistakes, having already caught two picks on the season. Also if Eric Weddle plays, the defense will be that much tougher for the Jaguars to compete against.
The Jaguars have also been unable to get out of their own this season. The Jaguars in the first two games of the season have already accumulated 20 penalties for a staggering 188 yards. The Jaguars have only managed 608 yards on the season. They lost close to a third of that in penalties. If the Jaguars got out of their own way, they might struggle less on offense, but that does not seem likely for Sunday’s game.
The Jaguars are also hurting in depth due to injuries. Safety Calvin Pryor and wide receiver Allen Robinson have been placed on injury reserve over the last two weeks. Robinson proved to be a silent star with the Jags since being drafted in 2014, as the 61st overall pick. Since then, he has totaled 2,848 yards, 202 receptions and 22 touchdowns. He will be sourly missed on the offense.
The bottom line is the Ravens should crush the Jags on Sunday in London. The Jaguars could be competitive if Fournette has a big day and Bortles does not spend too much time with the ball. If the Jags defense shows up, it could be a low scoring and tedious affair. The Ravens; however, should have this in the bag.
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