Welcome to another Sunday in Baltimore. After the never-ending bye week, football finally returns to Charm City with a doozie of a matchup.
Miami Dolphins (4-3) vs. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
Keep reading for a full preview.
If you think about it, these teams are almost mirror images of each other. On offense, both teams have young, emerging quarterbacks who have a strong running game to support them and a big-time wide receiver for them to throw to. The defenses are also similar. A nice, solid defensive line, very talented linebackers, and secondaries that don’t look incredibly talented on the surface, but often turn in nice performances. Miami’s offense has averaged 19 points and 343 yards of total offense per game. The Ravens have averaged 21 points and 340 yards of total offense per game. The Dolphins are 9th in the NFL in yards allowed per game, and the Ravens are 10th.
The Dolphins have been the NFL’s premier team on the road this season, going 4-0 away from home, with wins in Buffalo, Minnesota, Green Bay, and Cincinnati. The Ravens have been equally good at home, going 3-0 in the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium, with wins over Cleveland, Denver, and Buffalo. While Miami’s winning ways on the road have seemed a bit coincidental, it says that the Dolphins are ready for any game, in any stadium, against any team (unless it’s in Miami, in which case, they’ll lose miserably).
- Ravens rush defense vs. Dolphins rush offense: The Dolphins are a team with two strong running backs (Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams), but they’ve had some trouble getting going in some games, with the Dolphins offense ranking 16th in the NFL in rushing yards per game. If the Ravens’ defensive line can get enough penetration and plug up holes, you can be sure that the linebackers will do their jobs and contain the rushing attack. That will force Chad Henne to throw more, and it will weaken the play action pass that helps the Dolphins’ offense tick.
- Anquan Boldin vs. Vontae Davis: Ever since the Ravens passed up on Davis coming out of Illinois last year, he’s developed into a solid cornerback for the ‘Fins. Despite his development, Davis is still quite a bit behind Anquan Boldin in terms of talent. If Boldin can run his routes well, look for a big game out of #81.
In injury news, it looks like Tom Zbikowski is OUT, and Donte’ Stallworth will be active, possibly returning punts.
I think the Ravens can shut down the Dolphins’ offense without much trouble, and let Flacco and Co. win this game. The Dolphins’ road supremacy will come to and end. Ravens 17, Dolphins 7.