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Five questions, prediction for Jaguars at Ravens

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Five questions, prediction for Jaguars at Ravens

Five questions to ask and a prediction for Jaguars (2-6) at Ravens (2-6), Sunday (1 pm.) at M&T Bank Stadium:

1. Can the Ravens handle wide receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns?

Elite wide receivers have hurt the Ravens all season and the Jaguars have two of them. Robinson and Hurns have six touchdowns apiece and both are on pace for 1,000-yard seasons. We’ll find out quickly if the bye helped the Ravens’ secondary solve its issues.

2. How will the Ravens’ receiving corps respond to Steve Smith’s absence?

Compensating for Smith’s loss won’t be easy. Wide receiver Kamar Aiken will become more of a go-to guy for quarterback Joe Flacco, but the pressure is on the receivers, the tight ends, Flacco, and the entire offensive unit to prove that Smith’s loss for the season (torn Achilles) won’t be a severe obstacle.

3. Will the Ravens’ defense force a turnover for the first time since Week 3?

That’s a long time between turnovers, but the Ravens have to cover better and gang-tackle more to produce the turnovers that would make life easier for their offense. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has thrown at least one interception in seven of eight starts this season. No reason why the Ravens can’t get at least one pick Sunday.

4. Do the Jaguars have some trick plays up their sleeve?

The Ravens beat the Jaguars, 20-12 last season, but Jacksonville had a successful onside kick in the second quarter and a fake punt for a first down in the third quarter. The rebuilding Jaguars can afford to take chances and Gus Bradley is an aggressive head coach. If the Ravens are not alert, they could get burned by trick plays again.

5. Can the Jaguars keep the Ravens’ pass rush away from Bortles?

The Ravens had eight sacks against the Jaguars last season. While the Ravens’ pass rush has not been the same without Terrell Suggs (season-ending Achilles injury), Bortles has still been sacked 25 times, more than any quarterback except Russell Wilson (31), Colin Kaepernick (28), and Alex Smith (28). If Bortles gets knocked around frequently by the Ravens, it will be difficult for the Jaguars to pull off the upset.

PREDICTION: It’s premature to talk about the Ravens making a second-half playoff push. But they should beat the Jaguars at M&T.

RAVENS 23, Jaguars 16

MORE: Jaguars have the kind of young WR's Ravens covet 

 

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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