Flacco has been steady

Ravens Will Continue Strong Start To Campaign

The first of this season’s NFL International Series games takes place at Wembley on Sunday when the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Baltimore Ravens.

The Jaguars have gone through the extremes at the start of the term. Doug Marrone’s were outstanding in their opener to defeat the Houston Texans, shutting down their rivals on the road.

However, Jacksonville were extremely poor in their defeat to the Tennessee Titans in their home opener. The Jags’ struggles on offense limited their production and allowed the Titans to ease to a comfortable win.

Baltimore have enjoyed a fine start to the campaign. Their defense has always been formidable, but in the opening two weeks of the term they’ve been fearsome.

The Ravens shut out the Cincinnati Bengals in their first game before allowing just 10 points against the Cleveland Browns.

John Harbaugh’s men have won their two matches by a comfortable margin and will be eyeing a third win on the bounce to continue their excellent start to the term.

We’ll now break down the betting odds for the contest after looking at both sides’ form thus far in the 2017 campaign.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Bortles must improve

The season could not have started better for the Jags. Their defense was unstoppable in the first match of the campaign against the Texans.

Calais Campbell was an off-season signing from the Arizona Cardinals and he marked his debut with a franchise-record four-sack performance.

The 32-year-old was truly dominant in the middle of the defensive line, hitting Tom Savage then DeShaun Watson with regularity.

He along with Malik Jackson have the ability to form one of the most formidable units to provide pressure up the middle. Marrone’s men have excellent players on the outside as Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler Jr are continuing their development.

All four of those players have been a constant presence around the Texans’ quarterbacks and Marcus Mariota in the opening two weeks of the campaign. Due to the struggles of their offense they will need to continue to operate at a high level throughout the term.

In the back end of the defense, the Jags have more exciting talent. Jalen Ramsey is well on his way to establishing himself as an elite cornerback, while AJ Bouye is continuing his good form from last term.

Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson are providing a veteran presence in the safety position, much needed in a youthful side.

The problems come on the other side of the ball as Blake Bortles has endured another poor start to the term. There was surprise when the Jags opted to stick with the 25-year-old at quarterback.

His form has been an anchor on the club for a couple of seasons now, while Allen Robinson’s injury will only make matters worse. Unless running back Leonard Fournette can become a superstar in his rookie term – points will be a scarcity.

Baltimore Ravens

Flacco has been steady

For all the talk of a crisis before the start of the season, the Ravens have enjoyed a great start to the term.

The club appeared to be in trouble when Joe Flacco went down with a back injury during training camp.

Injuries mounted during the summer for Harbaugh’s men, but they were boosted by the return of their quarterback for the opener.

Flacco was solid enough against the Bengals to put 20 points on the board. However, the victory was earned on defense as they completely shut down their rivals.

Terrell Suggs notched two sacks, while the rest of the defensive line was able to generate pressure with regularity.

The secondary notched four picks of Andy Dalton announcing their arrival as one of the most dominant units in the NFL.

The challenge for the Ravens will be maintaining their form throughout the season. They were handed another gift in the form of the Cleveland Browns in their second game.

Life was made easier when Deshone Kizer left the field after suffering a migraine. The Ravens were able to restrict his replacement Kevin Hogan to just one touchdown drive, conceding just 10 points in the contest.

Baltimore have the rare ability to apply pressure with four players on opposing quarterbacks, while having solid coverage in the secondary.

Their additions in the secondary over the last two seasons have been impressive. Eric Weddle, Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson have bolstered the quality alongside stalwarts Jimmy Smith and Ladarius Webb.

The club should have one of the best defenses in the league come the end of the season. Another dominant performance should be on the cards against the Jaguars.

Betting Options

The contest should be a close one as both teams strengths are on the defensive side of the ball. The Ravens and the Jaguars will make it a priority to stop the running game, forcing the game into the hands of the quarterbacks.

Flacco should have the edge over his counterpart, despite his back injury. The 32-year-old has had his issues this season, throwing two interceptions, but he has managed to put 20 points on the board in first two matches.

That could be enough to guide the Ravens to their third win over the bounce as Bortles has struggled immensely already this term.

The fine display of Fournette helped the Jags ease past the Texans in their opener. However, Bortles was at his worst against the Titans, throwing two backbreaking interceptions to hand Tennessee control of the clash.

Life will only get harder against the Ravens – therefore back Harbaugh’s men at odds of -190   to claim the win with Bovada sportsbook.

The contest should be fairly close, but the Ravens should have enough to cover the -5 spread with Winner Sports at +110 .

The Jaguars have solid coverage players in the secondary therefore Flacco could be forced to go outside the box for receiving options. Ben Watson has been reliable in the endzone during his career – back him at +200   with William Hill to score anytime.

Tips Summary

Baltimore Ravens To Beat Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday 24th September 9:30 ET (13:30 BST)
Odds: -190

Baltimore Ravens To Cover -5 Spread
Sunday 24th September 9:30 ET (13:30 BST)
Odds: +110

Ben Watson To Score Anytime Touchdown
Sunday 24th September 9:30 ET (13:30 BST)
Odds: +200

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