OK, so Ravens-Jaguars might not be the type of matchup which will have you excitedly counting down the hours from now until 8:30 Monday night.
Jacksonville is 1-5 on the season, they have the NFL's worst offense and a dwindling fan base which has still yet to make Monday's game a sell-out. This isn't exactly Ravens-Steelers we're working with here.
Still, the Jags have been in all but one of their games, and had a shot to knock off Pittsburgh last week before falling by four points. This team currently might be short on talent at some spots, but they'll show up Monday night ready to play.
Here's how the Ravens and Jaguars match up statistically entering this weekend's game:
Ravens: 367.2 yards per game (14th)
Jaguars: 260.3 yards per game (32nd)
Ravens: 121.6 ypg (12th)
Jaguars: 122.7 ypg (10th)
Ravens: 245.6 ypg (13th)
Jaguars: 137.7 ypg (32nd)
Ravens: 286.2 ypg (3rd)
Jaguars: 325.3 ypg (8th)
Ravens: 76.6 ypg (3rd)
Jaguars: 115.0 ypg (19th)
Ravens: 209.6 ypg (7th)
Jaguars: 210.3 ypg (8th)
Ravens: +5 (5th)
Jaguars: -3 (t-22nd)
It's clear that a team which ranks last in the league in total offense doesn't present a ton of challenges on that side of the ball. One major issue for the Baltimore defense, however, will be running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
The Jags' "rolling ball of butcher knives" is the third-leading rusher in the NFL through Week 6, and you know the Ravens will have eyes on him the entire 60 minutes Monday night. Their goal will be to limit Jones-Drew's effectiveness on the ground and turn the Jaguars into a one-dimensional passing-oriented team.
If Baltimore is successful in taking Jones-Drew out of the game, the weight of Jacksonville's offense will fall on the shoulders of rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the Jags' first-round pick out of Missouri. Gabbert has still yet to win an NFL game (he's 0-4 in four starts) and he's averaging a league-worst 143 passing yards per contest. He has protected the football pretty well, throwing four touchdowns to just two interceptions, but his decision-making will be put to the test by a Ravens defense which will look to confuse, frustrate and punish the 22-year-old.
Yet again, the Ravens will face a quality defense, as Jacksonville ranks in the top-10 in both total yards allowed and passing yards. The Jags run a 4-3 front which features a tackle machine in the middle in linebacker Paul Posluszny and a quality pass-rushing threat in defensive end Matt Roth, who has three sacks on the year.
Longtime Jaguar Rashean Mathis is still Jacksonville's top corner, while former Raven Dawan Landry has teamed up with Dwight Lowery at the safety spots. Those two have combined for three of Jacksonville's six interceptions on the season.
I don't see this one being much trouble for the Ravens, even with it being a road Monday night game. It's never easy playing a primetime game away from home, but John Harbaugh's team has done it often and should stay focused against an inferior Jaguars team.
Put me down for a 27-6 Baltimore win.
What's your take on this Monday matchup, folks? Anyone think the margin will be closer than the one I expect? Got a player who you think will come up big for the Ravens in primetime?
Who you got?