Who has the edge: Ravens vs. Jaguars

<p>Ravens offense: Total (21) Rushing (1) Passing (31)<br> The Ravens' goal of becoming more explosive vertically this fall will have to be put off until next season. The personnel at the skill positions simply dictates that forced decision. Meanwhile, this is one week where the opponent's lack of speed at safety could be exploited by rookie Kyle Boller with deep passes down the middle to Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap. Obviously, running back Jamal Lewis remains the focal point of the attack.

Kyle Boller is delivering the football with increased confidence, accuracy.
Running backs
Jamal Lewis has a league-high 977 rushing yards and ranks second in the NFL in total yards with 1,068 yards behind Priest Holmes' 1,103 yards.
Quietly, this unit is beginning to contribute, especially Todd Heap and Frank Sanders.
Offensive line
Bulldozing group loves to play smash-mouth football.

Jaguars offense
Total (15) Rushing (22) Passing (7)
The Jaguars' rushing offense is still centered around Fred Taylor, but he was held to 48 yards on nine carries in last week's loss to the Tennessee Titans. Rookie quarterback Byron Leftwich showed his youth a week ago with three interceptions and a 42.6 quarterback rating. He was benched in the fourth quarter for David Garrard, who completed 9-of-12 passes for 86 yards for one touchdown in an aborted comeback attempt. The receivers are solid, especially wily veteran Jimmy Smith, but the offensive line is inconsistent. Leftwich has nine interceptions and two fumbles.
Byron Leftwich is a statue in the pocket, but he has the big arm needed to beat defenses.
Running backs
Fred Taylor is still regarded as a multi-dimensional back that has to be respected.
Jimmy Smith has a long history of excellent performances against Baltimore.
Offensive line
Injury-riddled group is a major question mark.
Quarterback edge: Even
Running back edge: Ravens
Receivers edge: Jaguars
Offensive line edge: Ravens

Ravens defense
Total (5) Rushing (8) Passing (12)
Ravens are in an attack mode as defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has unleashed Peter Boulware to chase quarterbacks. The secondary is playing more fundamentally sound football of late, especially Gary Baxter and Chris McAlister. Strong safety Ed Reed is due for a big game after two quiet weeks. Defensive line coach Rex Ryan raves about the unsung work of defensive end Anthony Weaver. Weaver keeps drawing double-team attention away from Terrell Suggs and Boulware.
Defensive line
Slightly undersized unit gets it done with hustle, quickness and technique.
Speed is the watch word at linebacker for unit coached by Mike Singletary. They'll need it against Fred Taylor.
With Gary Baxter shifting to cornerback, it's imperative that Will Demps and Tom Knight fill in capably for him at free safety and nickel back.
Jaguars defense
Total (10) Rushing (6) Passing (19)
Stout against the run with excellent size at defensive tackle, the Jaguars angered coach Jack Del Rio for allowing an 11-minute drive in the fourth quarter last week against the Titans. He perceived the letdown as a sign of softness, or, even worse, giving up. Del Rio won't tolerate quitters. The linebackers have to perform better, or he'll keep replacing them. He fired T.J. Slaughter days after his arrest for allegedly brandishing a gun at passing motorists. Del Rio conceded that if Slaughter had been an All-Pro he would have retained him.
Defensive line
Hugh Douglas has only one sack, and appears to be at the end of his career. Tony Brackens is still going strong with four sacks.
Inferior group led by undersized playmaker Mike Peterson.
Defensive backs lack speed, but have an elite hitter in Donovin Darius.
Defensive line edge: Ravens
Linebackers edge: Ravens
Secondary edge: Ravens
Ravens special teams
Dedric Ward appears to be the solution at return specialist. Kicker Matt Stover is this group's ace.
Jaguars special teams
Jacksonville lost punter Chris Hanson to infamous wood-chopping accident with self-inflicted axe wound. Mark Royals is a decent replacement. Field goal kicking is a detriment.
Special teams edge: Ravens
Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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