Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Predictions: 3 Critical Stats and Matchups To Watch on Sunday Night Football

The Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars meet on Sunday Night Football for a battle between two potential AFC heavyweights.

The Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars meet in a battle at the top of a connected AFC on Sunday Night Football. Baltimore is 10-3 with a two-game lead in the AFC North, and Jacksonville is 8-5 with a one-game lead on Indianapolis and Houston in their division, but they currently hold the division tiebreaker over both.

The Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals were the two leaders in the AFC North heading into the season, but some ugly early-season performances and injuries have dropped the Bengals down a peg, and the Cleveland Browns have emerged as the legitimate contender in the North.

At 10-3, Baltimore is in the driver’s seat in the AFC. But Miami is only a game behind Baltimore in the race for a bye week in the playoffs, and the Ravens have the most difficult remaining schedule in the league.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville is in a fight for their lives in the AFC South. Houston and Indianapolis have both overachieved in 2023 to push the Jaguars for a division crown they were supposed to walk away with.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Predictions

  • Beasley: Ravens
  • Bearman: Ravens
  • Miller: Ravens
  • Morrison: Jaguars
  • Robinson: Ravens

The Jaguars are the home team against the Ravens, but they haven’t necessarily benefitted from a home-field advantage in 2023. Much of that comes down to playing the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Bengals, and Browns at home while facing the easy part of their schedule on the road.

Isaiah Likely an X-Factor Against Jacksonville

According to Inside Edge, the Ravens have averaged 72.9 receiving yards from their tight ends since the beginning of 2022, which is the second-best mark in the league. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have allowed 59.3 per game to opponents, which is the fourth-worst in the NFL over that time.

The caveat to this is that Mark Andrews isn’t walking through that tunnel with his uniform on. However, Isaiah Likely is coming off a five-catch, 83-yard performance against the Rams. In his two games since the Ravens lost Andrews, Likely has 9 catches for 123 yards.

The Coastal Carolina product didn’t test particularly well at the NFL Scouting Combine, which is often a career death blow at the tight end position. But Likely had awesome tape, and there are a few important aspects of his testing that need to be looked at more closely.

Likely posted elite explosiveness. He jumped 38 inches and had a broad jump in the 93rd percentile. He ran just a 4.8 in the 40-yard dash, but his 10-yard split was bad, and he got consistently faster throughout the run.

The 40 is a very technical thing. Guys spend hours every week working on the first three steps of the movement gearing up for the draft. He’s proven since to be a much more explosive athlete than his testing suggests, and his ability as a blocker has been a bonus for the team, especially as a 240-pound player.

Jacksonville Injuries and Baltimore’s Health

The Jaguars’ offensive line struggled when it was fully healthy after Cam Robinson returned from his suspension. Things have only gotten worse since then.

Left tackle Walker Little and left guard Ezra Cleveland are questionable for the game.

MORE: AFC North Playoff Scenarios and Standings

Blake Hance and Tyler Shatley are in line to relieve them if they can’t go, and the Ravens are likely ready to feast on the underwhelming duo if that’s the case.

The Ravens have the most sacks in the NFL through 14 weeks. Trevor Lawrence has been sacked 31 times this season, which is tied for seventh in the NFL with Justin Fields, Lamar Jackson, and Desmond Ridder.

Unfortunately, that’s not where the injuries end for Jacksonville. Cornerback Tyson Campbell and safety Andre Cisco, two of the team’s best defensive backs, will miss the contest with injuries. Cornerbacks Tre Herndon and Christian Braswell are questionable to play. That’s a lot of trouble on the back end.

A potentially disastrous injury is Ross Matiscik, who is also questionable. Long-snapping is an unsung thing in football, but it’s as critical to the operation as a holder or a kicker. It’s simply gotten so good at the NFL level that we hardly think about it. If Matiscik can’t play or his snaps are compromised, it could doom the Jaguars.

Somehow, the ever-injured Ravens are suspiciously healthy. Only Kyle Hamilton and Malik Hamm carry an injury designation heading into the contest. They are both questionable.

Health plays a significant role in the NFL, particularly down the stretch of a season. Look no further than the past few seasons for Baltimore.

Fumblerooski!

If Jacksonville has any hope of upsetting the cream of the AFC crop, they have to force Baltimore into a few mistakes. If there is a chink in the Ravens’ armor, it’s in their propensity to put the ball on the ground.

The Ravens’ 20 fumbles are the eighth-most in the NFL. However, they’ve only lost nine of them.

MORE: AFC South Playoff Scenarios and Standings

Meanwhile, the Jaguars have recovered 11 fumbles, good for a second-place tie with Buffalo. Their 13 interceptions are tied for fourth, and their 24 total takeaways are tied for the most in the league.

Jackson is an electricity factory, but he’s also too careless with the football as he tries creating from the pocket. That’s led to 11 fumbles this season, which are the third-most in the NFL.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Jaguars’ overall pressure rate falls outside of the top 10, but individual rushers — Josh Allen, for example — can put pressure on the pocket.

But make no mistake, Jacksonville can’t get into a fair fistfight with Baltimore and expect to be standing at the end. They need to poke them in the eyes (force fumbles) or kick them below the belt (intercept Jackson).

Unfortunately, the football gods giveth, and the football gods taketh away. Their 22 giveaways — sixth-most in the league — put them at a +2 in the turnover margin for the season.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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