Jaguars, Ravens risk NFL win streaks in key home contests

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence has led his club to five wins in a row entering Sunday's NFL game against San Francisco (Jonathan Bachman)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence has led his club to five wins in a row entering Sunday's NFL game against San Francisco (Jonathan Bachman)

NFL division leaders Jacksonville and Baltimore risk the NFL's longest win streaks on Sunday in pivotal mid-season home games.

The Jacksonville Jaguars seek their sixth consecutive triumph when they face San Francisco, the 49ers trying to snap their own three-game losing skid, and the Baltimore Ravens, on a four-game win streak, meet Cleveland in a showdown of the NFL's top defensive units.

Defending champion Kansas City (7-2), season wins leader Philadelphia (8-1) and AFC East division leader Miami (6-3) are all off this week, just like the Jaguars (6-2) were last week.

"We've got a lot of momentum right now," Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. "We still feel that momentum, that energy we took when we went into the week off, but you've got to find a way to get that edge back.

"You've got to give your body a chance to rest but you can't expect to walk out there Sunday with that edge if you didn't all week in practice. That's where it starts."

Both coaches played down their team's streaks, Jacksonville's Doug Pederson dismissing his club having already won more games than it did in nine of the past 12 full seasons.

"We haven't done anything yet," said Pederson. "We're not 'there' yet. Our guys have to prepare that way and be ready for Sunday."

The Niners (5-3) still share the NFC West lead despite their struggles as coach Kyle Shanahan follows a game-at-a-time philosophy.

"When you've lost three in a row, you've got to get back to (winning). That's all that ever matters," he said.

"You've always got to focus whether you've won 15 in a row or you've lost three in a row. Nothing changes. It's about how well you play, the intensity with which you play and how well prepared you are."

Lawrence has completed 68.3% of his passes for 1,935 yards and nine touchdowns with four interceptions for the AFC South leaders while San Francisco's Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL with 652 rushing yards.

The AFC North division-leading Ravens (7-2) have routed Seattle 37-3 and Detroit 38-6 at home ahead of the Browns (5-3) visit.

"We're treating every game like a championship game until we're finally there," Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson said. "Our whole team is just locked in. Every week we've gotten better."

Cleveland has allowed the fewest yards a game this season at 234.8 with Baltimore next at 262.6.

Both have formidable ground games with the Ravens leading the NFL on 160.3 rushing yards a game and the Browns third on 144.1.

- Only us can stop us -

The Ravens lead the NFL with 35 quarterback sacks, linebacker Roquan Smith is fourth in tackles with 87, and safety Geno Stone tops the league with six interceptions.

"As long as we go out there, focus and dominate, we'll be fine," said Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen.

"If we're all locked in and just do what we're capable of, communicate and play as hard as we can and have the best technique we can, there shouldn't be anybody be able to stop us.

"The only people that can stop us is us."

The Browns, coming off their first shutout win since 2007, boast Myles Garrett, level second in the NFL with 9.5 sacks.

Jackson has the NFL's top completion rate (71.5%) and tops quarterbacks with 48.9 rushing yards a game. He credits practice against Baltimore defenders with helping that success.

"Our defense has no weaknesses," Jackson said. "How they're flying around and disguising defenses and time up their blitzes, it helps us out a lot. We see one of the best defenses every day."

Two other clubs risk four-game win streaks at home with Minnesota (5-4) hosting NFC South leader New Orleans (5-4) and Cincinnati (5-3) entertaining Houston (4-4).

The NFL's International Series of contests continues with Indianapolis facing New England at Frankfurt.

Sunday's other games find Green Bay at Pittsburgh, Detroit at the Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta at Arizona, Tennessee at Tampa Bay, Washington at Seattle, the New York Giants at Dallas and the New York Jets at Las Vegas with Denver at Buffalo on Monday.