The Baltimore Ravens attempt to kick-start their offense against a team thriving without their best player in the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.
The game begins at 7:30 p.m. EDT, and you can watch a live online stream here.
The Jaguars have won their first two preseason games, including a come-from-behind 27-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints last week, despite the absence of Maurice Jones-Drew, the NFL's leading rusher in 2011.
Jones-Drew continues his contract holdout and will miss his third-straight preseason game. The 27-year-old recently announced that he is open to a trade.
Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert, entering his second season, has led the way in both preseason victories. Gabbert has posted a 126.1 passer rating and has thrown for 174 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Against the Saints, Gabbert completed 13-of-16 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Gabbert looked in synce with rookie receiver Justin Blackmon, who figures to be a key part of the Jaguars' offense. The two connected on a 16-yard reception for the first touchdown of the game. Blackmon had four receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown in his first game after ending a 12-day contract holdout.
Reserve running back Rashad Jennings took advantage of his extra carries and gained 62 yards on 11 carries against the Saints. Jennings figures to be the starting running back should Jones-Drew continue his holdout.
Another storyline is Rashean Mathis's return to the NFL. The 10-year veteran tore his anterior cruciate ligament in November against the Indianapolis Colts and has not appeared in a game since. It is uncertain how long the he will play against Baltimore.
The Jaguars other starting cornerback, Derek Cox, will not play for a second straight game due to a hamstring injury. Former New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross and fourth-year pro William Middleton are expected to see action.
Jacksonville will look to contain a Baltimore offense that failed to reach the end zone and settled for four field goals in a 27-12 rout against the Detroit Lions last week. The Ravens have not scored a touchdown in six consecutive quarters, and quarterback Joe Flacco has led his team on only one touchdown drive so far this preseason.
However, Flacco showed a solid command of the offense against Detroit. Head coach Harbaugh elected to keep Flacco on the field into the second quarter, and the fifth-year pro completed seven-of-12 passes.
The Ravens may also be a bit concernced with their defense. Baltimore's secondary struggled against Detroit, surrendering 341 yards and two touchdowns. Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson caught five passes for 111 yards, including a 57-yard bomb in limited action. Baltimore couldn't stop the run either, as it conceded a 76-yard touchdown scamper to Stephfon Green in the closing seconds.
There may be concerns that Ravens' prolific defense may finally show their age. Future Hall-Of-Fame linebacker Ray Lewis is now 37, and perennial Pro-Bowl safety Ed Reed will be 34 in September. The unit also lost 2011 Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs, 30, to a torn Achilles for most of the season.
In 2011, the team ranked third in overall defense, allowing just 16.6 points per game. Baltimore may need to rely on rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw, and young cornerbacks Cary Williams and Jimmy Smith to produce if the team expects to repeat 2011's dominant performance.
Prediction: Baltimore has not lost a home preseason game since 2007, and Flacco has played his way out of poor starts before. Gabbert may need to put up points early and find Blackmon as often as possible to keep the Jaguars in the game.
Predicted Score: Baltimore 31, Jacksonville 24