NFL Gridiron Gab Week Nine Preview: Miami at Baltimore

All seems to be well in the “Charm City” with the “king” raising the Ravens flag

and a healthy Ed Reed celebrating following an interception

Opponent: Miami Dolphins

Record: 4-3

Head Coach: Tony Sparano

Ravens take on the Fins!

After the bye week the Ravens are home to face a well balanced Miami Dolphins team.  Miami is coming off a win in Cincinnati and they are 4-0 on the road this season.  The Dolphins will be playing their second road game and third consecutive game facing a AFC North team (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Baltimore).  For the Ravens, they should be well rested and will look to improve the play from their corners and pass rush.

The Dolphins:

QB Chad Henne, in his third season, continues to improve throwing for 1699 yards, with 8 TD’s, and 7 INT’s. The team’s run game features the dual threat of veteran Ricky Williams (374 yds., 4.1 yds per run.) and Ronnie Brown (335 yds., 4.4 yds.).  The acquisition of WR Brandon Marshall (588 yards, 12.5 per rec., 1 TD) has improved the passing attack. Receiver Devone Bees is also a favorite target for Henne. The offense ranks 13th in passing yards and 16th in rushing yards. The unit does incorporate Wildcat package from time to time.

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan (former Ravens def. coordinator) has the defensive playing at a high level.  The unit ranks 12th against the pass and 11th defending the run. They have a total of 17 sacks. The run defense has played well of late, in last week’s game they held Cedric Benson to 69 yards. OLB Cameron Wake leads the team with 6.5 sacks and OLB Koa Misi (3.5 sacks) is effective against the run. The team features some young but talented cornerbacks in Sean Smith (2nd year) and Vontae Davis (2nd year). Smith had a key fourth quarter interception in the team’s previous game against the Bengals.

Match-ups:

OLB Terrell Suggs vs. LT Jake Long: Suggs will be going up against a solid left tackle. The Dolphins offensive line has allowed 1 sack in the past 3 games.

CB Fabian Washington vs. WR Brandon Marshall: The big question will be if Washington be the starter after being pulled late in the Buffalo game.  Would Harbaugh be inclined to have Lardarius Webb or Josh Wilson take on Marshall?  Whomever it may be, the Ravens will do their best to roll their coverage in Marshall’s direction.

WR Anquan Boldin vs. CB Jason Allen: 5th year corner Jason Allen has 32 combined tackles, 8 pass deflections and 3 interceptions. However, cornerback Sean Smith was inserted into the game after the Bengals opening touchdown drive.

S Ed Reed vs. QB Chad Henne: Reed looks great and faired well against Miami in the playoffs a few years ago.

CB Vontae Davis vs. WR Derrick Mason: Davis has one interception this year. He was effective against Chad Ochocinco, shutting him out for most of the game last week.

RB Ray Rice vs. Fins Front 7: Miami’s front seven has steadily improved against the run. Ray Rice has played well, but Cam Cameron will look to get Rice involved more coming off the bye week.

Ravens red-zone D vs. Dolphins red-zone offense: The Dolphins have been settling for field goals in the red-zone this year. The Ravens have played well in the red-zone.

WHO MAKES THE HIGHLIGHT FILM:

Jonathan Scruggs: Fabian Washington

“I’m going out on a limb here, but Washington was flat out embarrassed against the Buffalo Bills. In order to stop the Dolphins the Ravens are going to have to focus on taking away the pass to force the running backs to fall into the trap. I like Washington to rebound with a sound performance.”

Matt Jergensen: Joe Flacco

“I had a chance over the Bye week to look closer at Flacco’s progression. Since the Week two debacle he’s been fantastic and the offense has been averaging almost 25 points a game. The potency of the Ravens offense is why I think they can get past Miami this Sunday.”

Gene Winner: Ed Reed

“Reed looks like he’s on a tear and he’s only been back for one game.”

PLAYERS HEALTHY:

In addition to Ed Reed who played a game before the bye week, the Ravens should be getting back WR Donte Stallworth, LB Tavares Gooden and DE Paul Kruger.

Previous Match-up:

Baltimore traveled to Miami in 2008 for the Wild-Card match-up. The Ravens won 27 -9. It was Flacco’s rookie season and his first playoff game. He finished with 9 for 23 for 135 yards and no interceptions. The Ravens shut down Miami’s Wildcat offense and Ed Reed intercepted Chad Pennington for a TD and tacked on a second interception. LeRon McClain rushed for 75 yards and a TD.


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