Another big challenge this week for the Hard Knocks heroes as the 11-3 Miami Dolphins travel to Charm City to face the formidable 12-4 Baltimore Ravens.  This could easily wind up being the AFC Championship game in a few weeks, but the winner this week will likely determine who will be the home team for that foreseeable match up.  Miami has silenced a lot of doubters by beating Dallas last week.  Perhaps they silence the haters this week by beating a team with a winning record on the road. Both teams can run, pass, and play great defense.  I think Miami has more injury concerns playing without speedy wide receiver Jalen Waddle and could be without secondary stars Jevon Holland and Jalen Ramsey.  On paper, the match ups are pretty darn even.

TEAM STATS (provided by

  • Total Offense – yards per game. Fins 1st at 414 / Ravens are 6th at 368.
  • Points per game. Fins 1st at 31.5 points per game / Ravens 2nd at 30.8 per game.
  • Passing yards per game. Fins 1st at 274 / Ravens 6th at 252.
  • Rushing yards per game. Fins 4th at 140 / Ravens 12th at 117.
  • Total Defense – yards per game. Fins 3rd at 295 / Ravens 5th at 297.
  • Points allowed per game. Fins 13th at 21 points per game / Ravens 1st at 16 per game.
  • Passing yards allowed per game. Fins 10th at 206 / Ravens 6th at 194 per game.
  • Rush yards allowed per game. Fins 5th at 91 / Ravens 12th at 103.
  • Turnover Margin. Fins 11th at +3 / Ravens 1st at an impressive +10
  • Total sacks. Fins 2nd at 52 / Ravens 1st at 54.


  • Tua ranks 1st in passing yards, 6th in passing TDs, and 2nd in passer rating. The Ravens’ Lamar Jackson ranks 15th, 14th, and 7th in those categories.  Jackson has also piled up 786 yards rushing which is good for 20th in the league.
  • Tyreek Hill ranks 1st in reception yards, 3rd in receptions, and 2nd in TDs. Ravens’ top receiver Zay Flowers ranks 41st, 21st, and 46th in TDs.
  • Raheem Mostert ranks 4th in rushing yards, 8th in rushing yards per game and 1st in rushing TDs. De’Von Achane ranks 5th in yards per game and 2nd in average per carry.  Ravens’ running back Gus Edwards ranks 27th in rushing yards, 33rd in yards per game, but 5th in TD’s with 12.
  • Miami’s sack leader is Bradley Chubb who ranks 14th with 11 sacks. Ravens’ Justin Madunuike is 11th with 12.0 sacks.


These matchups are incredibly even.  Each team’s offensive and defensive unit ranks near the top 5 or better.

Fins offense vs. Ravens defense.  Is this the immovable object meets the irresistible force?  The Dolphins are ranked 1st in scoring, but the Ravens are ranked 1st in points allowed.  Miami is ranked 1st in passing offense, but the Ravens are ranked 6th in pass defense.  Miami will be without Jalen Waddle at wide receiver as well as running back Raheem Mostert which takes a lot of speed off the field.  Tua HAS had success vs. the Ravens.  According to Joe Schad, Tua is 2-0 vs. the Ravens with 627 yards, 6 TDs, and 2 INTs.  For this trend to continue, Miami’s patchwork offensive line needs to give him time to throw which won’t be easy going up against the top-ranked sack defense.  There’s a slight separation in rushing but only slight.  The Fins rank 4th in rushing yards while the Ravens rank 12th in rush yards allowed.  Advantage: Even

Fins defense vs. Ravens offense.  This is another immovable object/irresistible force scenario.  The big question is, how does Vic Fangio plan to contain Lamar Jackson?  Will he try to take away Jackson’s scrambling game by using a spy?  I think that’s imperative.  Given a choice, make him throw vs. run. If you take away his 736 yards rushing, the Ravens are an average rushing team.  The Ravens are ranked a surprisingly 6th in passing offense which leads to the key of this match up.  The Dolphin secondary is banged up.  Jevon Holland has missed several games.  Jalen Ramsey showed up on the injury report with a knee injury.  This is another even match; however, if Ramsey and Holland don’t play, the advantage shifts to the Ravens.  Advantage: Even.

Kicking game.  Jason Sanders made some huge progress last week going a perfect 5-5 raising his percentage made from 81% (17-21) to 85% (22-26).  That moved him up to 19th best in the league just behind future Hall of Famer Justin Tucker who is a mere 31-36 (86%) this year.  Tucker is the all-time NFL leader in percentage of field goals made so for him, he’s having an off year, but if you had to choose ne kicker to make a field goal, for my money it’s him.   Ravens punter Jordan Stout is averaging 47.1 gross yards per punt but only 39.5 net.  That ranks him tied 14th and 29th in the league.  Fins punter Jake Bailey has languished near the bottom of the league in gross and net yards per punt.  Bailey averages 45.0 gross and 41.8 net which ranks him 30th and 19th.  Advantage: Edge to Ravens.

Intangibles.  The winner of this game takes the lead in the battle for the AFC’s #1 seed.  The Ravens have the home field advantage and coach John Harbaugh who has won many a big game showdown. The Dolphins have one thing left to prove, and that’s beating a team with a winning record on the road.  They may be taking the conservative route by sitting players who aren’t 100% so that they are assured to play next week in the battle of the AFC East against Buffalo.  Hence, they may have to wait until the playoffs to check that box. Advantage: Ravens.

Last week, I played the under which was an easy winner.  This week?  I won’t actually know until the inactives and starters are announced.  If Miami has Ramsey and Holland, I think they cover the 3.5-point spread but lose on a Justin Tucker field goal.  Ravens 24-21.  Without Ramsey, I think the Ravens win 27-17.  In either scenario, I once again like the under 46.5