Welcome to Big Cat Country’s weekly roundtable, where our staff previews each Jacksonville Jaguars game and makes picks for each NFL game. The Jaguars are underdogs of 3 points against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
What do you see as Jacksonville’s biggest weakness at this point in the season?
Joseph Henry: It’s going to be a popular answer, but in my mind, it’s certainly the right one. The offensive line has been a liability all season, and now it is getting swamped by injuries. Seriously, imagine if they hadn’t made the move to acquire Ezra Cleveland at the trade deadline... The run game has been nonexistent for about a month now, and it’s becoming a major problem as the air attack begins to falter.
Travis Holmes: Is the General Manager a valid answer to this question? I joke (kinda), but that weakness sinks all surrounding ships. If we’re talking positional weaknesses, it’d have to be the interior offensive line play, which has neutered the running game while limiting the passing schemes available.
Gus Logue: Trench play, especially in the interior. Luke Fortner has yet to live up to his third-round pedigree as a run blocker; DaVon Hamilton is a shell of his former self following a significant summer injury; and other linemen like Walker Little and Foley Fatukasi are also unhealthy. The communication problems that you see in Jacksonville’s passing offense and defense certainly hurt, but the Jaguars need to start winning up front more than anything.
Adam Snowden: I’m about to make a broad generalization here, but one that is not inaccurate: the roster. To be clear, the Jaguars roster has a lot of talent, highlighted most notably by Trevor Lawrence, Josh Allen, and Travis Etienne. However, being a top 10 or 12 team should not be the end goal, and after a strong comeback season in 2022-23, the Jaguars had every resource to be an elite team this year whose roster can hang with the best. However, if you compare the Jags’ roster against those of the Eagles, the 49ers, the Cowboys, the Chiefs, or even the Ravens and Bengals, the Jaguars lack a comparable cohort of high-end talent. The goal is to be the best, and the Lawrence-Pederson duo can unfortunately only get Jacksonville so far (probably the wild card or divisional round of the playoffs).
Henry Zimmer: The Jags’ biggest weakness has got to be consistency. One week the team looks to be hitting a stride, the next they can’t stop anyone. That paints a broad picture, but the best teams in the league perform consistently day in and day out. When the team loses, a lot of fingers get pointed to bad days/weeks of practice. It starts there.
What’s the best path to the Jaguars upsetting the No. 1 seed Ravens?
Joseph: Time of possession will be a huge factor in Sunday night’s game. If the Ravens have a significant advantage, I see almost no path to victory for the Jaguars against Lamar Jackson and his offense. Sustaining drives has been a tall task for Jacksonville recently, but that will be a major key to keeping the scoreboard close.
Travis: After watching Lamar go 3-for-9 for 26 yards (with a sack and six pressures) against the blitz last week, I would think the best route would be for the Jaguars' defense to bring the house at an ungodly rate, and whatever happens on the back end happens. It can’t get any worse than what we’ve seen over the last two weeks, right? Send them all Mike Caldwell.
Gus: Jacksonville’s pass rush needs a big performance. Josh Allen and co. have to get after Lamar Jackson fast enough to apply pressure and impact throwing lanes, but not so fast that they lose gap integrity and contain on the edge. If Jackson has all the time in the world to throw, it’ll be another long night game in the ‘Ville.
Adam: Shutting down Baltimore's passing attack. While Jaguars fans will be quick to recall last year’s incredible win against the Ravens that started the season turnaround, last year’s Ravens team notably lacked Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr., Lamar Jackson’s two favorite targets as of late. Jackson is also playing out of his mind this season, carried largely by his immense development as a passer in addition to his formidable running ability. If the Jaguars want to have any hope of defeating Jackson, they will need to take away his favorite targets. Otherwise, this game could get ugly fast.
Henry: If the team is to beat the Ravens, it will have to be in the same fashion they did last year: limit Lamar Jackson in the pass game and fire away on offense. Trevor Lawrence passed for over 300 yards in last year’s contest between the teams while Jackson only completed 16 passes for 254. In the Ravens’ three losses this year, Jackson has passed for 236 yards or less. While the Jags’ pass defense has been less than stellar of late, it will have to figure it out on Sunday night to win. The offense will also have to perform to the standard it set in games like against the Texans or Titans.
Final score prediction?
Joseph: Ravens 31, Jaguars 20
Travis: Ravens 37, Jaguars 30
Gus: Ravens 27, Jaguars 20
Adam: Ravens 34, Jaguars 26
Henry: Jaguars 28, Ravens 24
Here are our staff’s Tallysight picks for the full slate of games this week.
What are your Week 15 predictions, Jaguars fans? Let us know in the comments!