Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun
Jackson will try to maintain his production against a Jacksonville defense that has slipped from third in FTN Fantasy’s defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) over the first seven weeks to 17th over the past seven weeks. Former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco shredded the Jaguars for 311 yards and three touchdowns in Cleveland’s victory last Sunday, and Cincinnati Bengals backup Jake Browning threw for 354 in beating Jacksonville the week before. The Jaguars blitz on an above-average 29% of dropbacks but have just 27 sacks to show for it. Josh Allen, their 2019 first-round pick, is responsible for half of those along with 24 quarterback hits and 13 tackles for loss, so containing him will be priority No. 1 for Stanley and Moses. Travon Walker, the first pick in the 2022 draft, is Jacksonville’s other threat from the edge, though he has yet to stand out consistently.
Former Raven Darious Williams is easily the top player in the secondary with 19 passes defended. Jacksonville is vulnerable at the other corner, where starter Tyson Campbell is dealing with a quadriceps injury. The Jaguars have defended well on third down, less so in the red zone, where opponents have scored touchdowns on 56.4% of their possessions.
Trevor Lawrence started against the Browns, a week after he suffered a high-ankle sprain against Cincinnati. He completed just 28 of 50 passes with three interceptions against Cleveland’s elite defense but did rally the Jaguars for a pair of 75-yard touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. At his best, the 6-foot-6 Lawrence is mobile and accurate, qualities he showed in beating the Ravens last November.
Lawrence lost one of his favorite targets when wide receiver Christian Kirk went on injured reserve, but he still has wide receiver Calvin Ridley (55 catches on 97 targets, 742 yards, five touchdowns) and tight end Evan Engram (84 catches on 103 targets, 701 yards, three touchdowns). As well as the Ravens have covered overall, they’re 12th in DVOA against tight ends, and they could be without safety Kyle Hamilton, who hurt his knee against the Rams, as a long, mobile option to blanket Engram. Hamilton did practice Wednesday with a brace on his left knee. Lawrence has taken 31 sacks, same as Jackson. With left tackle Cam Robinson on injured reserve and backup Walker Little dealing with a hamstring injury — he’s expected back this week — Lawrence will face the Ravens’ scary pass rush behind suboptimal protection. The Browns sacked him four times, hit him 12 times and knocked away 10 passes.
Gordon McGuinness, PFF
Hamilton is a do-it-all safety who has lined up all over the field for the Ravens this season. He’s at his best close to the line of scrimmage, where he can cover the slot and also be used to attack screens and rush the passer. His 28 defensive stops rank fifth among safeties, while his 14 pressures are third.
Smith is tied with Quincy Williams with six pass breakups, ranking second among all linebackers. He has earned PFF grades above 80.0 both against the run and in coverage and has missed just 5.4% of the tackles he has attempted.
Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic
The case for the Ravens as a legit Super Bowl contender is simple: They can win in a bunch of different ways. Baltimore’s defense is second in DVOA and has been integral in many of its wins this season. But last week, the Rams went up and down the field against that Ravens D, totaling 410 yards of offense. Yet Baltimore still found a way to win. They had 449 yards of offense. Lamar Jackson led an impressive drive late in the fourth quarter, and Tylan Wallace ended the game with a 76-yard punt return touchdown in overtime. There are games when not everything’s clicking for the Ravens, but usually something is clicking, and that pretty much always gives them a chance. This is a team with a high ceiling and a high floor. Right where you want to be.
The Jaguars were down two touchdowns in the second half last week against the Browns and battled, but they couldn’t complete the comeback. I’m a little worried about what that pass-catching group looks like with Christian Kirk injured. Zay Jones had 14 targets against Cleveland and finished with just five catches for 29 yards. The good news for Jacksonville? I thought quarterback Trevor Lawrence moved well in that game, despite dealing with an ankle injury.
A convincing win by the Ravens here would not surprise me, but I like to ride with Doug Pederson in an underdog role in these spots.
The pick: Jaguars (+3.5)
Vic Tafur, The Athletic
It’s hard to get fired up for a trip to Jacksonville. Unless you really like restaurants with taxidermy on the walls that serve alligator and frog body parts for dinner. Imagine if you are a football team coming off a thrilling overtime win last week and has a “Monday Night Football” game next week against the 49ers. Yeah, the Ravens will be able to score against the Jaguars, but will they be locked in enough to stop Trevor Lawrence and his bionic ankle? The Ravens will have trouble with the Jaguars receivers, especially containing tight end Evan Engram. He had 11 catches on 12 targets for 95 yards and two touchdowns last week — despite averaging only 6.4 targeted air yards on the day, ninth highest among tight ends.
The pick: Jaguars
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Will Brinson, CBS Sports
Ravens/Jaguars over 42.5
This number feels way too low considering what we last saw in prime time from the Jaguars, when they squared off against the Bengals in Jacksonville. Yes, Trevor Lawrence is injured and the Ravens defense can be hyper aggressive, but the Jaguars should be able to score 17-20 points and do their half here. I don’t think Baltimore will struggle to score at all — we saw Lamar Jackson start using his legs more often last week than he had all season, and he could uncork a high-end Lamar performance against a really bad Jags defense. Losing Mark Andrews is a really tough blow, but Odell Beckham/Zay Flowers may be capable of filling the deep role, and Isaiah Likely has enough upside for this offense not to miss a beat. I think we get Keaton Mitchell busting off a long run, too. The Jags at home coming through the backdoor is the only thing keeping me off the Ravens as well.