Baltimore Ravens (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS, 0-2 O/U) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 O/U)
When and Where: Sunday, Sept. 24, Wembley Stadium, London, England, 9:30amET
Line: Baltimore -4
Jacksonville is considered the home team playing in England against a Ravens team that has never traveled abroad. Baltimore is 2-0 after beating Cincinnati on the road (20-0) and Cleveland at home last week (24-10). The Ravens are decimated right now on the interior of the offensive line after losing All-Pro right guard Marshall Yanda to a broken ankle. The Jaguars pounded Houston in the opener (29-7) on the road but reality struck last week with a home loss to Tennessee (37-16). Last year, Baltimore edged Jacksonville, 19-17 on the road.
Defense rules for the Ravens
Baltimore has forced an incredible 10 turnovers in their first two games. In their last game against Cleveland, they intercepted DeShone Kizer and backup quarterback Kevin Hogan four times, while also recovering a fumble. After a very bland offensive effort against the Bengals, Joe Flacco and company opened it up a little more against the Browns. Flacco, who did not play in the preseason due to a back injury, completed 25 of 34 for 217 yards with two TDs and a pick. Flacco completed most of his passes to his tight ends and running backs. Veteran tight end Ben Watson led the Ravens with eight catches for 91 yards, while running back Buck Allen added five for 35 yards. Allen led the Ravens in rushing with 68 yards on 14 carries. Starting running back Terrance West (8 for 22 yards, TD) sat out most of the second half due to a “soft tissue injury”, but is expected to play this week.
Defensively, the Ravens were not as good as they were against the Bengals. They gave up 293 passing yards and 93 rushing yards on 21 carries. They made up for it with four picks including one by rookie linebacker Tyus Bowser, who also had a sack. Linebacker C.J. Mosley led the way with 10 tackles, while safety Tony Jefferson added nine tackles and one TFL.
Turnovers hamper Jags’ effort against Titans
The Jaguars led 3-0 and were down by just 6-3 at the half against Tennessee. But the Titans overpowered Jacksonville in the second half, scoring 31 points to take a big AFC South game. The Jags hurt themselves with two interceptions from Blake Bortles and a fumble. Those three turnovers took place on three straight possessions from the second and third quarters, basically making a close game a blowout. In the opener against Houston, Bortles did not have a turnover and wasn’t sacked. He finished with 20 of 34 for 223 yards with one TD. Rookie Leonard Fournette, who ran for over 100 yards in his debut against Houston, was held to just 40 yards on 14 carries, but did score a late touchdown.
At wide receiver, Marquise Lee (7 catches for 76 yards) and Allen Hurns (6 catches for 82 yards, 1TD) both had strong games against the Titans. But the Jags do miss top receiver Allen Robinson, who blew out his knee in the opener. Last year, he caught 73 passes for 883 yards and caught 80 for 1,400 years in 2015.
- 4-1 ATS last 5 in September.
- 5-1 ATS last 6 on grass.
- 1-4 ATS last 5 on grass.
- 7-19 ATS last 26 in September.
Both teams are dealing with injuries but the Ravens have the better quarterback and the strong defense. They’ll take this as a business trip so there shouldn’t be many if any distractions. New running back Alex Collins has given Baltimore a speedier option than Buck Allen and Terrance West. This is basically a neutral site game so have to take the Ravens in this one.
It’s hard to go with the Over when Baltimore is playing. They don’t have an explosive offense and they want to grind the game out once they take the lead. Jacksonville also wants to lean on Fournette and not Bortles for obvious reasons. The Ravens are 10-3 Under their last 13 after an ATS win. In their last six meetings, the Under is 5-0-1 in this series.