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Ravens-Jaguars preview

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Ravens-Jaguars preview

Jaguars at Ravens
Comcast SportsNet, 7:30 p.m., Thursday
M&T Bank Stadium

History: Jags lead the regular season series, 10-7.

Rewind: Jags won the last meeting 12-7 on Oct. 24, 2011 in Jacksonville.

Recap: The Ravens are 1-1 in the preseason, with the first unit only scoring one touchdown in a 31-17 win in the opener at the Atlanta Falcons. QB Joe Flacco looked more comfortable in the hurry-up offense in last week's 27-12 loss to the Detroit Lions, but the success of it will be measured by how many touchdowns he can generate -- not field goals. ... The Jags are 2-0 in the preseason and have surprisingly done it with offense. They won 32-31 vs. the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants and 27-24 at the New Orleans Saints.

Key matchups: Without Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jags are riding with RB Rashad Jennings (5.1 yards per carry). He could test the strength of the Ravens' run defense. Top draft pick, WR Justin Blackmon, will be facing a lot of one-on-one coverage from the Ravens' secondary which has allowed the Falcons' Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson of the Lions to have big games.

The skinny: Expect some risk-taking, particularly with play-calling as Flacco declared he wanted the team to take more chances in the red zone. The defensive line hasn't achieved much pressure on the opposing quarterback, so that will be looked at especially closely with the next round of cuts coming Monday. ... QB Blaine Gabbert, coming off a miserable rookie campaign, has gotten the Jags off to quick starts by leading them on touchdown drives to open each game. Gabbert has a 126.1 passer rating. And they've done it without Jones-Drew, the NFL's leading rusher last season with 1,606 yard who has held out all of training camp for a new deal even though he has two years left on his contract.

Prediction: Ravens 28-14

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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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