The Miami Dolphins are flying to Baltimore to take on the Ravens this Sunday.  In the midst of a 6 game winning streak, this article is to give you, the reader, an idea of what to expect from the Ravens.  Here is an overview of the 6-5 Ravens, ahead of the big showdown with the Dolphins:

1.  Joe Flacco and the Offense–  This guy was Ryan Tannehill before Tannehill even came into the league.  Joe Flacco is a polarizing QB in the NFL. He was taken in the first round of the 2008 draft with high expectations coming out of Delaware.  He has been to the mountain top with a Super Bowl victory in 2013 against the 49ers.  In 2016, Flacco has been average, at best.  He currently has 2,877 yards passing with 11 TD and 10 INT.  His QB rating is 80.4 which is 29th in the NFL.  What really stands out about Flacco is his arm and ability to avoid sacks.  He has been sacked 23 times this season however, as their offensive line has been dealing with injuries (sound familiar?)  Expect Flacco to get his weapons involved early in this game.  Mike Wallace is having a bounce back season with Baltimore, hauling in 51 catches and 792 yards with 4 TDs.  Steve Smith, even at 37 is still a dangerous WR.  He is physical at the line of scrimmage and may pose a mismatch with Lippett or Maxwell.  The last weapon on offense is Dennis Pitta, who is have a good season coming back from injuries over the last few season. 

Their running backs is something less to be desired.  Terrance west and Kenneth Dixon make up the running back tandem.  Both average under 4 yards per carry, with West receiving a lions share of the carries, as he is a threat out of the backfield.  The Ravens may look to keep the Dolphins ferocious front 7 at bay, by adding in a running scheme this week, which may open up more passing lanes for Flacco and the offense. 

Here are Baltimore’s current rankings on offense:

Points per game- 19.8 (25th)
Yards per game- 334.2 (24th)
Pass yards per game- 246.4 (18th)
Rush yards per game- 87.8 (28th)

While you look at those numbers, keep this in mind:  The Ravens are very capable of quick hitting plays and chunk plays on offense.  Miami will be wise to keep their rush lanes in tact and not allow Wallace or Smith to get behind the secondary.

2.  Justin Tucker–  if this game comes down to a last second field goal, sign me up for Justin Tucker.  Miami MUST, absolutely MUST force their will on an injured front offensive line in Baltimore, to keep them out of field goal range.  Tucker is a perfect 27 for 27 on field goals, which is amazing considering he is 7 for 7 from beyond 50 yards.  He is, in my opinion their greatest asset on offense

3.  Defense- Historically, the Ravens defense has been top 10.  This year is no exception.  Even while missing Elvis Dumerville for some time this year, the Ravens boast a solid unit all around.  It begins with Terrell Suggs, who is having a great season getting after the QB with 8 sacks.  Now that Dumerville is back, Miami must prepare for an all out pressure, all day from the Ravens.  I would expect to see 8 in the box a majority of the game, trying to confuse the Miami OL with exotic blitz’ and stunts.  Expect Tannehill to be throwing on quick drops to try to move the chains.  Eric Weddle leads the secondary that features solid corners in Jimmy Smith and Ladarius Webb.  Here are the current rankings on Defense for the Ravens

Points allowed per game- 18.3 (4th)
Yards allowed per game 297.8 (2nd)
Pass yards per game- 222.9 (6th)
Rush yards per game – 74.9 (1st)

Absolute eye popping numbers.  For Miami to be successful, establishing the ground game early is a must.  As Miami expects Tunsil and Albert to be a go this week, they will have their  hands full.  Miami can win this game if they can score points and get to at least 28.  If the Ravens dictate the game and keep it low scoring, field goal affair, it may be difficult for Miami to get to 7 straight wins, and control of their playoff destiny in the final quarter of the season.  Get ready Dolphins fans, this will be  another long, nail biting game.  We may need another 4th quarter comeback to get out of this game with a W in a hostile environment.



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