Jaguars weaknesses exposed in loss to Ravens, path to the playoffs gets murky

• The Jaguars showed in Week 15 they're not a top tier teams

• Following 3 straight losses, they need to be asking questions

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) looks for a target during early second quarter
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) looks for a target during early second quarter / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

Following back-to-back losses, the Jacksonville Jaguars were looking to get back to the win column when they hosted the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football. Unfortunately, they couldn't get out of their own way and ended up dropping yet another game, giving them an 8-6 record for the season.

Even though the Jags still have a realistic chance to make the playoffs, they now found themselves on a three-way tie in the division with the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts. On top of that, the loss to the Ravens exposed the many weaknesses that could potentially hold them back the remainder of the season.

Jacksonville was supposed to have home-field advantage by virtue of playing at EverBankStadium, where the Ravens had a 3-7 all-time record entering the bout. Instead, they showed they aren't ready to contend with the top teams in the AFC South. It would've been one thing if the Jags had taken things to the wire and lost the game to overtime. Granted, a moral victory doesn't count in the standings but it would've at least shown this Jaguars team has heart and won't give up in the face of adversity.

That wasn't the case, though. The offense had several opportunities to score in the first half and came empty-handed. The Ravens' defense deserves a bit of credit but Jacksonville's own mistakes played a role in their inability to reach the end zone.

Kicker Brandon McManus most definitely deserves flak for going 0-2 in field goals, even if the weather conditions weren't optimal and the attempts were both of 50+ yards. He's routinely nailed those throughout his career and even earlier this year. On Sunday Night, under the lights of prime-time TV, he fell flat.

Missed opportunites held the Jaguars offense back on Sunday Night Football

But even if McManus had made his two kicks, it wouldn't have been enough to keep up with the Ravens, with the offense failing to find some sort of rhythm. Although the Jags were able to move the ball, they couldn't get the job done once they got to the red zone. Whether they willingly chose not to spike the ball and get one extra play in before halftime or they fumbled the ball, they had several opportunities to score in the first half and couldn't seize a single one.

It wasn't until the third quarter that the Jags managed to score on a 65-yard touchdown reception by Jamal Agnew. But even then, they weren't able to build momentum. Instead, the mistakes that plagued them in the first half continued. Moreover, they abandoned the run, a puzzling decision when you take into account that they had success running the ball in the first half.

It's true that the defense gave up several big plays and allowed 23 points but they minimized Lamar Jackson's impact as both a runner and a passer, limiting him to 14 completions on 24 passes for 171 yards with one touchdown, one interception, and 97 rushing yards. While Josh Allen didn't come up didn't come up with a big play, he did post a jaw-dropping win rate of 40.3 percent and eight total pressures.

Similarly, fellow pass rusher Travon Walker continued to show growth, bringing Lamar Jackson once. Rayshawn Jenkins also had a sack and an interception off Lamar Jackson. The bottom line is that the defense did enough to keep the Jags in the game but the offense couldn't capitalize on the opportunities. Trevor Lawrence went 25-of-43 for 264 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions, and two lost fumbles.

While the offensive line gave up a concerning 18 total pressures, Lawrence made several questionable decisions throughout the game and didn't have the touch on a handful of passes he's routinely displayed. To add insult to injury, he's now in the concussion protocol, and may not suit up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16.

What's next for the Jacksonville Jaguars? Trevor Lawrence could miss time

The Jags will next take on a hungry Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that beat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Baker Mayfield completed 79.78 percent of his passes for 381 yards with four touchdowns and no picks. Given that the Jaguars' secondary struggled against Jake Browning and Joe Flacco, they could be in for another long day when they face the Bucs.

There's also Lawrence's potential availability. Players in concussion protocol tend to miss at least a game. That doesn't bode well for his chances of suiting up against Tampa Bay. One silver lining is that the offensive line, specifically Walker Little and Ezra Cleveland might be a bit healthier next week. Having said that, it will be difficult for C.J. Beathard and the Jaguars' offense to beat the Buccaneers if they continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

With the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts both winning in Week 15, the Jacksonville Jaguars' lead in the AFC South has evaporated. One more loss could put them in the position of having to make the playoffs as a wild card or missing the cut altogether.

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