Key #2: “South Beach Beast”
After capturing their fourth consecutive road win against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Miami Dolphins head into Baltimore to face off against the fierce Ravens, who are one of the top teams in the AFC. The Dolphins do not match up very well against the Ravens, and besides both teams willingness to get physical during the games, and pound the ball down each others throat, while throwing a big hit now and then, the similarities between the teams stop there.
While the game will be the turning point of the season, the defining moment as some would say, this game is manageable to come out with the victory. The Dolphins will have to do the following things very well, but like they proved against the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier in the season, they can hang with anyone.
3. Keep Henne On His Feet:
For the past three weeks this has not been a problem as our whole offensive line as a unit has not allowed a sack on Henne in three games. But this game is different. Everything about this game is different, including the pass rush. Any player on the Ravens defense can rush the passer at any given time and come up with the sack. This defense likes to get very creative and rush multiple blitzers on the quarterback.
For the Dolphins to have any chance of success on offense, they need to be able to keep the pressure off of their quarterback. The Dolphins have enough problems scoring touchdowns as it is, they do not need the added pressure of their quarterback getting up slowly after mutliple blows.
2. Feed the South Beach Beast!:
You all have heard by now of the addition of wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins. Oh wait, you havn’t noticed the past couple of games? Perhaps that has been because of the double and triple teams that he is drawing. But with the emergence of slot receiver Davone Bess, expect some of that extra attention to go away. Not to mention the running game picking up some steam the past couple of games. This should bide well for Marshall, as he looks to outduel Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin in the battle of newcomers. While Marshall is still commanding 7-10 targets per game, the bottomline is that when the Dolphins need to rely on the passing game to keep themselves in games as much as theyhave this season, a big time receiver like Marshall has to have 10 catches for our passing game to be successful. Put some pressure on Ed Reed early. Make him slide over into coverage instead of free-lancing over the field. In this case drawing the extra attention to anyone in particular is ok, especially for Marshall. But in the Dolphins biggest game of the year, and after the team expressed faith in you as their #1 receiver and not picking up Randy Moss, Marshall has to put up the big numbers, which includes touchdowns, to match his contract.
1. Score In the Red-Zone:
This has been the killer in so many of the Dolphins losses so far this season. They lost to the Jets because of their lack of touchdowns, and they lost to the Steelers for the same reason. Against the good, and great teams you simply cannot continue to fail to score touchdowns. Both aforementioned losses showed us that allowing teams to stick around will come back to haunt you. This week against the Ravens will be no different. While limiting the number of chances the Ravens get in the red-zone, the Dolphins offense has a little challenge of its own, to find someway to score a touchdown. Our kicker cannot lead us to victory every week, and this week we should be looking to finally find our consistent red-zone threat, whether it be Marshall, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Anthony Fasano, or Davone Bess, find something you can go to in your time of need, and someone you can rely on to get the job done. This has been something this team has been lacking, and has held the team back from great things. Score some touchdowns, and the Dolphins just might come out victorious this week.
I think after all is said and done, the Dolphins will finally beat one of the leagues elite, and improve to 5-0 on the road, after an impressive, and grueling, 20-17 victory. The Dolphins have to be clicking on all cylinders to win this game though. The Ravens will pose the toughest challenge for the Fins all season simply because Miami does not match up well with any of Baltimore’s players. This weekend will tell whether or not Miami belongs in the playoff discussion or whether or not they are simpky pretenders.