The AFC-North-leading Baltimore Ravens (4-1) head down to Jacksonville to take on the struggling Jaguars (1-5) at EverBank Field to close out Week Seven.
The Ravens came into the week ranked 5th in the NFL in scoring, averaging 29.6 points per game behind QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice. Flacco has been inconsistent at times, putting up 255.6 yards per game with seven touchdowns to four interceptions and a QB rating of 79.6. Rice was 11th in rushing, putting up 79.6 yards per game and averaging 4.5 yards per carry but his contribution to the passing game with 302 yards receiving makes him one of the most dangerous weapons in the game. Only Darren Sproles of the New Orleans Saints had more yards from scrimmage heading into this week.
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The Jaguars have been giving up 115 yards per game on the ground so look for the Ravens to come out with a heavy dose of Rice. Defensively the Ravens will try to shut down the Jaguar’s rushing game and they have given up only 76.6 yards per game on the ground behind LB Ray Lewis, but tonight come up against Maurice Jones-Drew, who has 572 yards rushing on the season.
If they can shut down Jones-Drew it puts the ball back in the hands of a rookie thrower, which could give S Ed Reed and DE Haloti Ngata a big night.
For the Jaguars, rookie Blaine Gabbert started out this year as the third string QB behind Luke McCown who was eventually benched, and David Garrard, who lost the job to McCown. So far the Jaguars are still trying to climb out of the basement and have been ranked last in total yards per game at 260.3 and last in passing yards with 137.7 per game.
The offensive bright spot has been the running game behind RB Jones-Drew who is 4th in the league with 95.3 yards per game. If the Jaguars can get some momentum going on the ground, it should open up some passing opportunities for Gabbert who will need to integrate newly re-signed WR Mike Sims-Walker and TE Marcedes Lewis whose contribution has declined this year. The return of LT Eugene Monroe should help keep Gabbert on his feet to make some of those throws.
FOX Business has evaluated the win/loss and stock market statistics over the past 20 seasons of Monday night NFL games and come up with a Monday Night Markets MNM score for each team based on their record and the prior week’s market activity. Let’s take a look at what the markets have to say.
The major indexes had strong gains with the Dow Industrials closing out the week up 1.41%, up for four weeks in a row and 9.63% over that period. The S&P 500 was also up posting a gain of 1.12% now on a three week winning streak. The markets reacted positively to several strong earnings reports and optimism that a weekend summit of European leaders would make progress towards resolving the Euro Zone’s debt crisis. This offset pressure from a rare Apple earnings miss and the downbeat view of the economy by the Federal Reserve.
Over the past 20 years, the Ravens have played 16 Monday night games and based on our calculations have a Monday night rank of .583 when the Dow closes the prior week up and .583 when the S&P 500 is up, giving them a MNM rank for this week of .583.
During the same 20-year period, the Jaguars have played 13 Monday night games and have a rank of .625 when the Dow is up and .571 when the S&P 500 is up giving them an MNM rank this week of .598.
Monday Night Markets picks the Jacksonville Jaguars at home in a close game to upset the Baltimore Ravens.
FBN STAFF PICKS - WEEK 7
Robert Gray (5-1)
The Jags are not as bad as their record would indicate, but the Ravens are as good as their won-loss tally. Both trends continue with Baltimore taking the road win.
Sandra Smith (5-2)
Chris Cotter (6-1)
What was ABC thinking with this one? Ravens no contest..
FOX BUSINESS NETWORK FOOTBALL INDEX
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