In one of the best games of this NFL Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in primetime Sunday night football, and boy am I excited for the chair slide from Chris Collinsworth. Jaguars fans are looking for a different result this Sunday compared to their last primetime game against another AFC North opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals. This Ravens team is loaded with starts up and down their roster. In this article, we will look at two players, one on offense and one on defense, that will cause problems for the Jaguars, and if they can’t stop them, it will be a long Sunday night.
First on offense is superstar quarterback and former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. I can only imagine how many teams wish their team drafted Lamar, as he was selected with the last pick in the 2018 draft. The thing that makes Lamar so dangerous is his ability to run and throw the ball. He is easily one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL, and he is a serious problem for defenses around the NFL.
With Mark Andrews out, Lamar has seemed to take no steps back, and this Ravens offense is rolling and getting hot at the right time to make a deep postseason push.
In their matchup last year, Lamar showed his ability as a dual-threat quarterback, going 16-32 with 254 yards and 1 touchdown and on the ground with 14 carries for 89 yards. While this is a good game, he has had much better this season. Assigning one of the linebackers to a spy to help stop Lamar on the run will benefit this Jaguars team greatly, and boy does this defense need to step up. The Jaguars' inability to wrap up and make tackles has been evident over the past two games, and if they have any hope of winning this game, tackling and stopping Lamar Jackson will have to be this defense’s number one priority.
Now switching to the defensive side of the ball. This one was a little more challenging because of how the Ravens play defense. Similar to the Texans, this defense plays as a well-coached machine with not one star player. Gone are the days of Ray Lewis or Ed Reed causing absolute havoc for offenses around the league. While this team plays well, the one player to focus on or watch is linebacker Roquan Smith.
With 136 tackles, Smith is the leader, heart, and soul of this Ravens defense. After getting traded from Chicago last year, his immediate impact has been felt, evident all over the field. One of the most impressive things about Roquan Smith is his ability to make tackles, and even more impressive is his lack of missed tackles. He has a staggeringly low number of just 5.4% missed tackles on tackles attempted this year.
While the Jaguars faced their toughest test last week against the Browns, who are ranked as the No. 1 defense in the NFL, this week will be no different with Smith leading the charge for Baltimore.
If the Jaguars want to win this game, a large emphasis will have to be placed on making smart and fundamental plays. The game against the Browns was about three plays that got away, which ended up costing them the game. One of the best things I have learned about the NFL, and I think it takes center stage in this game against the Ravens, is that there are three to five plays in a game that decide who wins or loses, but you don’t know those plays until the game is over. That is what we have on our hands against the Ravens on Sunday Night Football.