Ravens - Jaguars: Gameday inside slant

Week 10 in the NFL sees the Ravens (2-6) on the road playing the Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3). We take a quick look at what to look for on each side of the football and what each team needs to do to win.

When the Ravens have the football

Anticipate offensive coordinator Jim Fassel taking a cautious approach initially with quarterback Kyle Boller since he hasn't played in two months. It will be interesting to see if Boller has much rhythm with his receivers, especially leading wideout Derrick Mason, after working with the scout team until this week. In the past, Boller often looked to tight end Todd Heap. Could this be the week that running backs Jamal Lewis and Chester Taylor re-emerge as a legitimate threat against a susceptible run defense? Otherwise, it could be a long day for a rusty Boller trying to thread the football into a play-it-safe, Cover 2 defense spearheaded by cornerback Rashean Mathis.

Key matchup

OT Jonathan Ogden vs. DE Reggie Hayward

Ogden has rebounded from a sluggish start. Hayward was given $10 million in guaranteed money and has generated 5 1/2 sacks.

How the Ravens can win

1. Run the football. The Jaguars are surprisingly soft against the run despite the presence of massive defensive tackles John Henderson and Marcus Stroud, allowing 125.6 rushing yards per game.
2. Don't call the slant pass. Kyle Boller threw a lot of interceptions in the preseason on this throw, and it's unlikely he's gotten more careful and precise while being out the last two months.
3. Pressure Byron Leftwich. Leftwich isn't a complete statue, but has been sacked 20 times, including six against the Colts.

When the Jaguars have the football

Watch how often quarterback Byron Leftwich dumps the football off short. Although he has 11 touchdown passes, this isn't a top-flight receiving corps. Jimmy Smith is getting pretty old and athletic rookie Matt   Jones' hands remain inconsistent. Ernest Wilford has developed into a nice complementary target with four touchdown catches. Leftwich was very accurate last week against the Texans, completing all 11 of his second-half passes to finish 19-for-25 for 218 yards and he ran for the game-tying score. Leftwich isn't mobile, so the Ravens may throw some blitz packages at him. With Fred Taylor doubtful, Baltimore will wrangle with power back Greg Jones, a converted fullback.

Key matchup

WR Jimmy Smith vs. CB Samari Rolle

Although Smith remains his team's top deep threat, he has generally had trouble with Rolle, who has eight of his 23 career interceptions against Jacksonville.

How the Jaguars can win

1. Take advantage of Kyle Boller. His inactivity could be a major factor considering he hasn't competed at game speed in months. Expect Reggie Hayward and Paul Spicer to be in his face a lot.
2. Shut down Jamal Lewis. If the running game is stonewalled, then that would force the Ravens to throw more that they want to in Boller's first game back from a toe injury.
3. Avoid Samari Rolle. The cornerback has victimized this franchise for years and is outshining teammate Chris McAlister. Rolle once knocked out Mark Brunell.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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