After getting our ass kicked against Tennessee, I began to wonder why I spent $250 before the season started to go to a December game in Baltimore. Great, I thought, we’ll be 2-8, so I’ll just pull off a Jimmy McNulty (one of Baltimore’s finest from “The Wire”) and get so completely trashed I figure out how to solve the mystery of the Dolphins sucking every year.
Now I’ll be in attendance at the most important game of the NFL season for the Miami Dolphins up to this point. Damn, I was smart for buying those tickets. Playoffs, here we come? I’ll be there to find out more.
I can promise you this: if the Miami Dolphins lose, it’ll not be a result of me nursing beers or staying quiet. (If any of you are venturing to Baltimore this Sunday, click on my user name and send me an email!)
This is about an evenly-matched game as it gets. Baltimore has given us fits over the years, and they seem to have a knack for winning those close, end-of-year games. Miami is better on offense, but Baltimore is better on defense. What gives on Sunday?
3) Cam Wake Vs. Ricky Wagner
To keep this a close game going into the 4th quarter, our front 4 will need to poop on Joe Flacco. Here’s looking at you, Cam Wake. The Ravens OL has graded poorly this year per PFF, and the best way to neutralize the home crowd, and possibly generate turnovers and flip field position, is to get after the QB.
2) Dolphins CB’s Vs. Ravens WR’s
The Ravens/Dolphins game has the lowest over/under total (started at 41.5, dropped to 40.5) of the entire NFL slate this week, as of this writing. The first to 20 points might win this game. In my opinion, the quickest way to the Ravens getting to 20 points is Mike Wallace or Steve Smith A) getting deep on us for a big play, or B) making big catches on 3rd down.
Joe Flacco and the overall Ravens offense have struggled this season, and it’s paramount to remind them of that on Sunday. Allowing them to string together first downs and get big chunk yardage, generate big plays, or shoot ourselves in the foot with stupid penalties (holding, pass interference, illegal contact) on critical downs will be unacceptable in a game of this magnitude.
1) Dolphins OL Vs. Ravens DL
The health of the Dolphins OL is of utmost importance going into Sunday. If the injury bug doesn’t work in our favor, how would our back-up OL fare against an imposing defense?
With time, I believe Ryan Tannehill can take advantage of the Ravens’ CB’s. The Ravens have an elite safety group, but 1-on-1, I like our chances with Stills, Landry, and Parker against their corners, especially if Jimmy Smith (Ravens CB) is still hobbled.
I don’t believe the Ravens will sell out on the run quite like the 49ers did, and I believe Jay Ajayi is very much in play in this game. Don’t forget, this is a dude who ran well against the New York Jets’ #1 rush defense. But the OL was healthy. Oh, what a conundrum.
Trench warfare will be the name of the game this week. The Ravens, historically, have demonstrated their worth in spades in the trenches against the Dolphins. We’ll be able to see the physicality that exudes from this team in a December game under Adam Gase and company. If we control the line of scrimmage, we win Sunday.
What key match-ups do you see Phinsider Nation? Let’s hear it in the Comments!