Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Despite Skid, Jaguars Try to Stay Positive

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Despite Skid, Jaguars Try to Stay Positive

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino, Times-Union sports writer

BALTIMORE -- This is what it comes down to for the Jaguars.

They play a Ravens team today that has lost two in a row and is likely to be playing its backup quarterback and tight end and a third-string running back with a battered offensive line, and yet the Jaguars are a touchdown underdog.

The fact that the Jaguars have the best road record in the NFL (20-15), dating back to 1996, and beat the Ravens eight consecutive times before losing twice last year doesn't impress the oddsmakers.

They see an aging, overpaid, salary-cap strapped, injury-riddled team with an embattled coach that has lost three in a row and is missing Tony Boselli and Fred Taylor.

If the Jaguars are to change that image, this might be their Last Stand.

In the next eight days, they play at Baltimore and Tennessee. If they find a way to win one of the road games, they'll come home to play Cincinnati with a chance to be 4-4 at the halfway mark.

If they lose both road games, they'll drop to 2-5 with a five-game losing streak for the second consecutive year, and it'll be time to start examining the future of the franchise.

But an upset victory today would give the team a new outlook. Since the team has lost three consecutive games to teams they were favored to beat, they have to hope they can play better as a surprise underdog.

"It puts you back at .500," coach Tom Coughlin said. "It gives you a chance to now gain some confidence. A win on the road is always that way."

In an effort to shake things up, Coughlin might give rookie running back Elvis Joseph a chance to show he can make a difference.

The two things the Jaguars have going for them is their history of playing well against the Ravens, and the defending Super Bowl champions might have lost some of their intensity now that they have their rings.

"We've had some big games against these guys," quarterback Mark Brunell said. "We know we can move the ball [on Baltimore] because we've done it in the past. But we have to be on our game Sunday."

The Jaguars think they can do just that. …

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