Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida
When: October 6th, 2013, 1:00 PM ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket, Game Rewind
Dolphins Player to Watch: Ryan Tannehill
Although the point has been labored to death, Tannehill’s performances have dictated most of Miami’s games thus far into the season. For instance, his first three games (all of them wins), Tanny threw for over 236 yards in all 3 games along with 4 touchdowns (2 interceptions, 2 fumbles), while in his loss to the Saints on Monday Night, Tannehill matched his turnover total for the season by coughing it up once and throwing a pick three times. Although Tannehill did make some poor decisions through the air against the Saints, he was sacked 4 times and was hit 10 times by the Saints defense. If this Dolphins offense is going anywhere, Tannehill can’t allow for defensive pressure to get to him, or else he will be fighting and uphill battle all game long. What was promising in the New Orleans game besides his 249 yards, was his 4 rushes for 48 yards. If the Dolphins decide to incorporate some planned QB draws or keepers against the Ravens defense, look for the Dolphins to be very dangerous in this game.
Ravens Player to Watch: Bernard Pierce
After 2 straight performances of over 57 yards and a touchdown, Pierce and the Ravens running offense was literally non-existent. Literally. I was prompted to call the authorities, put out a missing persons alert because the usually present Ravens running game was gone. 9 carries for 24 yards (Pierce had 7 yards on 4 carries). This week Jon Harbaugh and I are looking for a lot more commitment to the run as the Ravens play the Dolphins rushing defense that has allowed 98.5 yards per game this season. Whether it be Pierce or Rice with more success? Who knows. Expect Pierce to get the slim majority of the carries, as Rice is coming off a lingering hip injury. Having both backs operating at 100% will help Joe Flacco and this team exponentially as Flacco won’t have to throw it 50 times against the Dolphins.
Matchup to Watch: Lamar Miller vs. Ravens Rush Defense
Since the Ravens drafted Ray Lewis way back in the day, they have became a perrenial defensive powerhouse, usually ranking in the top 10 in rush defense. However, this season the Ravens have allowed the 13th most rushing yards in the league this season (106.8 yards per game). Miller has been as consistent as you can get, rushing for at least 60 yards in all of the past 3 games, including a 62-yard, 1 touchdown performance against the Saints on Monday Night (5.63 yards per carry). If the Dolphins are going to win this game, they’re going to have to utilize Miller a lot more than they have been as he has shown that he can be a dominating force in the running game and more than capable to accept the starting job over Daniel Thomas.
As much as it pains me to say it, the Ravens are most likely going to come out on top in this contest. Not for the reason that the Ravens defense is so much better than the Dolphins offense, its for the fact that Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense have the ability to really torch the Dolphins weak secondary. For the past 3 weeks teams have been proving that, Matt Ryan (231 yards and 2 touchdowns), Andrew Luck (321 and a touchdown), not to mention the drubbing Drew Brees gave the Dolphins on Monday Night (413 yards and 4 touchdowns). Last week even through 5 interceptions by Joe Flacco, the Ravens were still able to remain within 3 points of the Bills. I believe that this week should be no different for the Dolphins secondary. I expect the Flacco-Torrey Smith connection to be alive and well on Sunday as Flacco makes a huge bounce back in Miami. Look for the Dolphins to make things interesting as Lamar Miller should have a reasonably good game, but ultimately the Dolphins defense won’t be enough.
Ravens 20 Dolphins 17