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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 9, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Mon 9 PM
BAL at JAC NE at MIA NYJ at CAR On Bye:  
HOU at IND* SF at CHI GB at ATL CIN, SD Updated *
KC at BUF WAS at TB* STL at SEA TEN. NO Times ET

Prediction: Baltimore 13, Jacksonville 17

The Ravens hit the road where they are 0-4 so far this season and the Jaguars come off a win over the Texans that required a fourth quarter comeback - doesn't sound like a recipe for Game-of-the-Week. The Jaguars passing game has improved lately now that Ernest Wilford was finally given the start over Reggie Williams and the Ravens will be starting Kyle Boller again. Advantage - Jaguars.

Baltimore Ravens (2-6)
1 7-24 IND 10 Nov 13 @JAC
2 10-25 @TEN 11 Nov 20 PIT
3 Open Bye 12 Nov 27 @CIN
4 13-3 NYJ 13 Dec 4 HOU
5 17-35 @DET 14 Dec 11 @DEN
6 16-3 CLE 15 Dec 19 GBP
7 6-10 @CHI 16 Dec 25 MIN
8 19-20 @PIT 17 Jan 1 @CLE
9 9-21 CIN . . MON
BAL at JAX Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Boller 0 0 200,1
RB Jamal Lewis 50 0 0
RB Chester Taylor 20 30 0
TE Todd Heap 0 40,1 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 60 0
WR Randy Hymes 0 30 0
WR Patrick Johnson 0 30 0
PK Matt Stover 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Ravens have always relied on big defense and strong rushing to win games and since Lewis is wearing lead shoes and the defense is missing players, this team cannot score points and struggles to keep opponents from controlling the game. At 2-6 the season is already over and the next three games - @JAX, PIT and @CIN - don't hold much hope against going 2-9. Maybe there will be a really hot defensive rookie for them in the NFL draft next year.

Quarterback: The Ravens are getting Kyle Boller back and are actually happy about it because eight weeks of Anthony Wright have erased their memory. Wright never exceeded 233 yards in a game and turned in only six touchdowns since the start of the season against nine interceptions. Then again, Boller had 232 yards as his season high in 2004.

Running Backs: Jamal Lewis only gained 49 yards on 15 carries against the Bengals last week and as a sign of the times, it was the first time in the last nine meetings that he did not exceed 100 yards against them. Lewis has never hit the century mark this season and has only one rushing touchdown. Chester Taylor was getting some good results from increased playing time but only had nine yards rushing in each of the last two games though he did manage to total 77 yards and one score in those games.

Wide Receivers: Derrick Mason is the only wideout that matters here and the only one that has scored this season. While the others all turn in around one catch per game, Mason usually has five to eight receptions and his best game of the year came back in week one when he had eight catches for 99 yards - his only game with Kyle Boller.

Tight Ends: The Ravens passing game, such as it is, makes Todd Heap the clear second receiver behind Derrick Mason and his standard game - about four or five catches for 40 or 50 yards - is easily more than any other wideout. Heap only has two scores on the season and none in the last three games.

Match Against the Defense: The Jaguars have been softer against the run lately but nothing that Lewis has done this season suggests that he will do more than he has. Only four rushers have ever scored against the Jaguars this year and since Chester Taylor already takes away from Lewis, consider even a moderate rushing game here as a success for Lewis.

How well Boller throws his first game back remains to be seen and the layoff cannot have been a help for him. The Jaguars secondary have been allowing at least one score in each game this year but has limited almost every opponent to less than 220 yards. If the Ravens score an offensive touchdown, it would almost certainly be with a pass and that actually favors Heap here since the Ravens only use Mason with any regularity and he'll go against a tough matchup against CB David Richardson who will be getting safety help as well - who else are they going to worry about?

Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)
1 26-14 SEA 10 Nov 13 BAL
2 3-10 @IND 11 Nov 20 @TEN
3 26-20 @NYJ 12 Nov 27 @ARI
4 7-20 DEN 13 Dec 4 @CLE
5 23-20 CIN 14 Dec 11 IND
6 23-17 @PIT 15 Dec 18 SFO
7 Open Bye 16 Dec 24 @HOU
8 21-24 @STL 17 Jan 1 TEN
9 21-14 HOU . . SAT
JAX vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Byron Leftwich 0 0 180,1
RB Greg Jones 60,1 0 0
RB Alvin Pearman 20 30,1 0
TE Kyle Brady 0 20 0
WR Jimmy Smith 0 60 0
WR Ernest Wilford 0 50 0
WR Matt Jones 0 20 0
PK Josh Scobee 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars have lacked consistency this season and the same team that beat the Bengals and Steelers were taken down by a Rams team that had most of their players injured and then the Texans gave them a run for the first three quarters before Jacksonville finally came to life with a 14 point fourth quarter. Fred Taylor tweaked his ankle again but at least the passing game has new life thanks to finally shelving Reggie Williams and promoting Ernest Wilford. Seems that where you were drafted only matters for so long.

Quarterback: Byron Leftwich has used 2005 to develop into a very solid average quarterback. He's had at least one touchdown in each of the last six games but has never had more than two. He's topped out at only 240 yards during that time and half his games come in under 200 passing yards. He averages 205 yards per game and between one and two scores - the definition of average.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor re-aggravated his sprained ankle last week and only had 12 carries for 48 yards before leaving the game. The Jaguars opted for Greg Jones again as the primary ball carrier and he gained 27 yards on seven carries with one touchdown while Alvin Pearman only gained seven yards on two runs and added five catches for 34 yards. When Taylor was out in week six, Greg Jones had 18 carries for 77 yards and a score and Pearman again had five catches for 34 yards though he carried the ball 15 times for 22 yards. I am assuming that Taylor will miss this week and projecting for Jones as the primary ball carrier with Pearman pulling third down duty. Updates as warranted.

Wide Receivers: The Reggie Williams experiment is not going well. After being drafted in the first round of the 2004 draft, Williams had a lackluster rookie campaign but a great training camp last summer. Ends up his regular season play from last year was what he replicated - not training camp. Williams has now been demoted to fourth on the depth chart and Ernest Wilford has become the starter. Wilford had 234 yards and two scores over the last two games as a starter. Jimmy Smith only has five catches for 79 yards in the last two match-ups and finally Wilford is taking advantage of single coverage like Williams never has. Williams has not scored this year and has never had more than 54 yards in any game. Consider the change permanent.

Tight Ends: Just another team that throws once or twice to the tight ends each week.

Match Against the Defense: Ray Lewis will miss this game and likely one more but safety Ed Reed could be back this week which makes breaking any long runs much more difficult. The Ravens rush defense has taken a hit with Reed and Lewis out and even when they were both healthy, road games often produced at least moderate rushing yardage. Look for just that from the duo of Jones and Pearman.

The Ravens secondary has been very good this year and only have allowed two teams to pass for more than 200 yards and there is no confusing Leftwich with Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer. Look for a sub-200 yard passing game and the Ravens have allowed only one passing score to a wideout this year - Harrison back in week one. If the Jaguars score, the trend would be to a tight end but they rarely use them. More likely a pass to Pearman but regardless, this should be a low scoring affair.