Preview: Ravens Take on Jaguars to Open Preseason
At last, it’s August, and football has returned. Tonight, the Ravens will take the field for the first time since January 6th, and they will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in a preseason contest at M&T Bank stadium on August 8th, 2019. Last year, the Ravens finished with a 5-0 preseason record, which would lead to a 10-win season(regular season) and an AFC North division championship. On the other hand, the Jaguars ended with a 3-1 preseason record, followed by a disappointing five-win season, after appearing in the 2017 AFC Championship game.
Now, let’s get into the offseason and preview for both teams leading towards tonight’s contest.
Jacksonville Jaguars Report:
Last season, the Jaguars finished with a 5-11 record, and quite a disappointing season after reaching the 2017 AFC championship game, as aforementioned. Most of this poor play was due to quarterback Blake Bortles lacking the ability to move the ball down the field at a consistent pace. However, all of the blame shouldn’t go to Bortles, as his supporting cast wasn’t anything to get excited about. With Leonard Fournette dealing with a one-game suspension and aggravating his hamstring injury, and the wide receiver core was especially subpar, as it was led by Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook.
Through the offseason, Jacksonville made several key acquisitions however, such as bringing in former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Nick Foles, as they signed him to a four-year deal that is worth up to $102M dollars. In addition to adding Foles, Jacksonville would also sign wide receiver Chris Conley, offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, offensive guard A.J. Cann, and tight end Geoff Swaim. These signings weren’t particularly great, but they were needed as they planned to part ways with now-Rams backup quarterback Blake Bortles, and a depleted wide receiver group.
Tonight, look for the Jaguars to give a ton of playing time to their newly-drafted players such as edge rusher Josh Allen(Jacksonville’s 7th overall selection), and offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, who may not start immediately, but will likely get reps with the second or third team tonight. Additionally, the Jaguars will likely give 2019 sixth round pick Gardner Minshew II a plentiful of snaps under center, as he heads into the season serving as a backup for Nick Foles.
Baltimore Ravens Report:
Last season was rather exciting for Ravens fans, as their team claimed the AFC North crown and hosted a playoff game against the Los Angeles Chargers, despite losing. Even with a rookie quarterback in Lamar Jackson under the helm, the Ravens finished their last seven games in the regular season with six wins, with their unique style of offense by running the football, and highly recognized defense led by C.J. Mosley.
In the offseason, the Ravens also made several significant acquisitions, such as signing safety Earl Thomas to a four year deal, and signing running back Mark Ingram to a three-year deal, who was a key part of the Saints playoff run in the 2018 season. Both Thomas and Ingram will come in being expected to start, and they both will likely bring an impact as veteran leaders to the team.
As of now, watch for the Ravens to begin implementing quarterback Trace McSorley into what some experts call the most unique and fast-paced offense of 2019. Adding on, Baltimore will likely give reps to rookies who have looked impressive in training camp, such as former Oklahoma State standout running back, Justice Hill, and edge rusher Jaylon Ferguson. Both Hill and Ferguson were picked fairly early by the Ravens, as both names were called within the top 120 selections.
My official score prediction for tonight’s game is the Ravens defeating the Jaguars 24-17, as rookies from both sides stand out, especially edge rusher Josh Allen.
Notes: contract details are courtesy of ESPN, and the featured image is from the Baltimore Beatdown.