Week 17: Ravens-Jaguars Preview

Dec. 28, 2008, 5:30 AM

Quarterback David Garrard and the Jags are looking to spoil the Ravens playoff hopes

Quarterback David Garrard and the Jags are looking to spoil the Ravens playoff hopes

Game Info:
Kickoff: 4:15 p.m. (ET)
Site: M&T Bank Stadium (71,008) • Baltimore, MD.
TV: CBS
Announcers: Dick Enberg (play-by-play), Randy Cross (color)

Matchups:

Ravens Offense vs. Jaguars Defense – The Ravens will pound the ball as they have all season with Le’Ron McClain and Willis McGahee. Look for Ray Rice to get a healthy dose of carries if the Patriots lose their game against the Bills (which clinches a playoff spot for Baltimore). The Jaguars looked strong last week against the Colts rushing attack, holding them to 32 yards on the ground. Their pass defense is another story; Peyton Manning did not get sacked once and torched Jacksonville for 364 yards through the air. The Jags have been without Rashean Mathis, their top corner, since placing him on injured reserve on 12/4.

Jaguars Offense vs. Ravens Defense – Jacksonville has a very explosive weapon in running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. But “Mojo” is nursing a sore knee and will not be 100% by kickoff. The Ravens defense has not allowed a 100 yard rusher is 34 consecutive games, and they haven’t allowed one at home since 2004. Still, Jones-Drew is one of the better pass blocking backs in the league and he could give quarterback Davis Garrard the extra second or two he needs to make decisions against a ferocious Ravens defense.

The Prediction – The Ravens are 7-1 in season finale games played at home, having won 7 consecutive. I believe today will be no different. John Harbaugh has this team playing smart, physical football. After last week’s win in Dallas, facing 5-11 Jacksonville at home should be an easy task. Sure things do not exist in the NFL, but this is as sure as they come. RAVENS, 27 – 13.

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