You wouldn’t normally think that a match up between two teams that are both 2-3, aren’t in the same division and really don’t have much history to have a lot of storylines to it.
Just take a simple and supportive comment by Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh about his current offensive coordinator Cam Cameron about his tenure in Miami. He said Cameron “did a great job last year for what he had to work with.” That immediately got the attention of players such as Ronnie Brown and Joey Porter and now it’s been turned into bulletin board material. Not exactly what Baltimore needed.
The Dolphins are currently one of the more prolific offenses using old time playbooks to generate mismatches. Ronnie Brown has been resurrected and is running with purpose. He has scored at least one rushing touchdown in the last four games and is one shy of tying a franchise record. Chad Pennington has been very effective in running the offense as well posting a quarterback rating of over 100 for three straight games.
Baltimore’s offense hit rock bottom last week as rookie Joe Flacco continues to struggle. He’s thrown seven interceptions to one touchdown and things will not get easier as the offensive line took a big blow by losing starting guard Marshall Yanda for the season. The defense will need to recover from their Peyton Manning hangover and be ready to slow down the Dolphins ground game and generate pressure and turnovers.
It seems odd to put the “must win” tag on this game for Baltimore but with three out of the next four games on the road and the Ravens haven’t won a road game since October of 2007 it seems pivotal for them to get one in the win column and stop the bleeding.
The storyline that seems to be left out is the Ravens offense against the Dolphins defense. The defense for Miami give us over 300 yards a game and it let a sure win over the Texans slip through the cracks last week. Cameron will surely hand the ball off a lot and expect to see all three backs getting carries. Then mix in some play action to get the quarterback comfortable, a shot or two downfield and mark it, you will see a gadget play from the Ravens this week. The Baltimore defense has its faults but they rarely have two poor performances in a row. They will appeal to their pride this week and team leader Ray Lewis to pull through.
That being said I see the Ravens rebounding and following the game plan of the first two weeks of the season, heavy on the run and the defense creates some chaos. Home field won’t be an issue here as Miami will not have a stadium crammed full of crazies throwing off the quarterback cadence. I see Baltimore getting things back on track.
Ravens 23 Dolphins 16