Ravens preparing to face much improved Jaguars in week 10


Dec 14, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) drops back to pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Historically, facing the Jacksonville Jaguars has been a rather unimposing task, at least over the last several seasons.  The Jags haven’t had a winning season since 2007, and are a mere 11-45 over the last 3 1/2 seasons.  But this year, the Baltimore Ravens aren’t any better in the win/loss category, as both currently sit on identical records of 2-6.

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But looks, as they say, can be deceiving.  Ravens fans are well aware that this squad has had a chance to win in every single game they have lost, with all six coming at a margin of eight points or less.  The Jaguars aren’t getting destroyed every week either, with only one loss (51-17 vs. the Patriots) that could be called a “blowout.”

Both Jags wins came against relatively formidable foes (Dolphins, Bills), and they came dangerously close to pulling off a major upset last week against the New York Jets (28-23) at MetLife Stadium.  With an improving sophomore quarterback in Blake Bortles and two solid receiving threats in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, the Jags are beginning to resemble a competitive football team.

Those young and dynamic players, combined with rookie running back T.J. Yeldon, have led to a much improved offense.  The Jaguars finished 31st in total offense in 2014, averaging only 289.6 yards per game.  Through nine weeks (eight games) of the 2015 season, they are 16th, averaging 354.4 yards per game.

Much of that success can be attributed to Robinson, who is quickly emerging as one of the NFL’s top young wide receivers in his sophomore season.  Robinson put an exclamation point on his rise to stardom last week as he managed 6 receptions and 121 yards receiving against the NFL’s top cornerback, Darrelle Revis.

Robinson’s 40 receptions for 707 yards and 6 touchdowns this season is a team best, but teammate and #2 wide receiver Allen Hurns is right behind him with an almost identical 36/635/6 stat line.  The presence of Hurns, also a second year player, eliminates the ability for opposing defenses to sell out and push all their attention in the direction of Robinson.

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With the Ravens recent struggles in pass defense, the Jaguars’ dangerous duo of receivers presents an imposing threat.  This is clearly not the same Jaguars team they faced just last December, a game that they won by only eight points.  The Ravens must obviously take this version of the Jags seriously, or they might find themselves on the wrong end of an upset.