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Ravens vs. Jaguars: Key matchups

The vital matchups for Sunday

Syndication: Florida Times-Union Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Baltimore Ravens will face the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road in Week 12. Baltimore will be looking to extend their win streak and further strengthen their playoff chances with a win over an AFC opponent. What are some of the key matchups to keep in mind for Sunday?

Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mekari

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley has been ruled out for Sunday’s contest after suffering an ankle injury last week against the Carolina Panthers. The Ravens will once again turn to Patrick Mekari to fill in for Stanley to protect quarterback Lamar Jackson’s blindside this week against a quality opponent. Defensive end Josh Allen has accumulated 37 pressures this season, according to PFF, with the majority of his snaps coming against left tackles. Meanwhile, Mekari has allowed nine pressures and two sacks on 134 pass-blocking snaps this season, according to PFF.

Mekari has proven to be invaluable for his ability to fill in at any position along the offensive line at a respectable level. Baltimore does not have to panic with Mekari starting in Stanley’s absence for the time being.

Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith vs. Travis Etienne

Following the trade for Roquan Smith, the inside linebacker position has suddenly become a position of strength for the Ravens. Between Smith’s immediate impact and the emergence of Patrick Queen as a reliable playmaker in his third season, the middle of the field is no longer a weakness for Mike Macdonald’s defense. The duo will be tested this week against Jaguars’ running back Travis Etienne.

The second-year back has lived up to his first-round pedigree after missing all of his rookie season and a slow start to the 2022 season. Over his past five games, Etienne has accumulated 510 rushing yards. Queen and Smith will also have to keep tabs on Etienne in the passing game, as he has caught 22 passes for 202 yards through the air this season.

Marlon Humphrey vs. Christian Kirk

Jacksonville was ridiculed when they signed wide receiver Christian Kirk to a four-year, $72 million contract this offseason, but early results have been in their favor. In 10 games this season, Kirk has caught 52 passes for 679 yards and seven touchdowns, with the majority of his work coming from the slot. With his previous experience moving inside to play the slot, Baltimore could decide to shadow Kirk with cornerback Marlon Humphrey in order to take away quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s favorite target this week.

Humphrey has displayed the capability to play at a high level in the slot and is in the middle of one of his best seasons to date. According to PFF, Humphrey has yet to allow a touchdown in coverage and has allowed 50 or more receiving yards in just two games this season.