The Baltimore Ravens came up with a huge win in a Monday night thriller against the Cleveland Browns. Now, they will look to gain more ground in the playoff race with a win over the 1-12 Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday. Here are five players to watch:
Jackson had a big game against the Browns, and he should continue to build on that momentum against the Jaguars. This season, the Jaguars are allowing the third-most rushing yards per game and the fifth-most passing yards per game. In addition, their pass rush is struggling. The Jaguars have only 16 total sacks this season, which is the fourth-fewest in the NFL. Jackson could be dominant on Sunday.
Wide receivers Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, and James Proche have all been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The #Ravens placed WRs Hollywood Brown, James Proche and Miles Boykin on the Reserve/COVID list.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 16, 2020
According to head coach John Harbaugh, they are all reportedly on track to return on Sunday.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the three wide receivers on reserve/COVID list -- Hollywood Brown, Miles Boykin and James Proche -- still appear like they will be available to play Sunday.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) December 18, 2020
"Everything is on track at this time, and hopefully will stay on track," he said.
However, if they cannot play, Duvernay will undoubtedly take on a larger role in the offense. Duvernay has been underutilized this season. He has 19 receptions for 201 receiving yards on only 24 targets. At Texas, Duvernay proved to be one of the best wide receivers in the country due to his elite speed and hands. He ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the combine, and he had the lowest dropped pass percentage of any power-five wide receiver during the 2018 and 2019 seasons, according to PFF.
In Duvernay’s limited action this season, he has showcased those abilities. His speed was on full display during his 93-yard kickoff return touchdown against the Chiefs.
In addition, his catch percentage of 79.2% currently leads all Ravens’ wide receivers. Hopefully, Duvernay can get some more opportunities on Sunday.
There are a lot of injuries in the Ravens secondary, right now. Jimmy Smith has already been ruled out with shoulder and rib injuries. Marcus Peters is listed as questionable with a calf injury. Anthony Averett and Tramon Williams are also both listed as questionable, but they should be good to go, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic:
Jimmy Smith is out. Marcus Peters didn't practice all week, but that doesn't necessarily rule him out. Sounds like Averett and Tramon Williams should be good to go, even though they're questionable. So at corner, it should be Humphrey, Averett, Williams and two others.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) December 18, 2020
If Peters is out, Averett would become the second cornerback behind Marlon Humphrey. However, Averett’s play has given cause for concern. This season, opposing quarterbacks have completed 21 out of 25 passes for 250 yards and a QB rating of 108.3, when targeting Averett. To be fair, Averett has been in and out of the lineup and has the potential to be an impactful contributor.
Still, he will need to significantly raise his game against the Jaguars, who have an underrated wide receiver group. DJ Chark is coming off a 1,000-yard season, and the rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. has proven to be a versatile, dynamic playmaker. Gardner Minshew returning to the lineup should certainly energize them, as well.
Due to the injuries at cornerback, we may see Pierre Desir play his first defensive snap as a Raven. The Ravens signed Desir in late November. He played some special teams snaps against the Cowboys. Right now, he is on the practice squad.
Desir has been a solid veteran throughout his career. In fact, he had three interceptions in his nine games with the Jets this season. He is a nice player to have for depth.
Ngakoue played his first four NFL seasons with the Jaguars. This will be the first time that he will play against them. Ngakoue has only one sack in seven games with the Ravens. Look for him to have a statement game against a subpar Jaguars offensive line.