Ravens at Dolphins Preview

Sports and Bets — December 7, 2014 at 3:05 am by

There’s no need to beat around the bush today. We’ve got two teams at (7-5) that both desperately need a win if they’re going to punch their respective tickets to the postseason. Let’s get right down to business.

2014 Stats (per game)
Points – Baltimore: 27.3, Miami: 25.1
Points Allowed – Baltimore: 20.2, Miami: 19.3
Passing Yards – Baltimore: 238.8, Miami: 220.3
Rushing Yards – Baltimore: 131.8, Miami: 120.3
Passing Yards Allowed – Baltimore: 273.9, Miami: 198.2
Rushing Yards Allowed – Baltimore: 86.3, Miami: 118.6
Turnover Differential – Baltimore: 0.25, Miami: 0.25

Ravens Injury Report
WR Marlon Brown – Probable (Concussion)
WR Michael Campanaro – Questionable (Thigh)
RB Justin Forsett – Questionable (Knee)
TE Crockett Gillmore – Questionable (Back)
DB Tramain Jacobs – Out (Thigh)
LB Albert McClellan – Questionable (Thigh)
WR Torrey Smith – Probable (Knee)

Dolphins Injury Report
T Nate Garner – Doubtful (Illness)
LB Jonathan Freeny – Out (Hamstring)
TE Charles Clay – Questionable (Hamstring)
CB Cortland Finnegan – Doubtful (Ankle)
CB Jamar Taylor – Out (Shoulder)
LB Chris McCain – Doubtful (Ankle)

Ravens’ Offense vs. Dolphins’ Defense
The Dolphins have been absolutely gashed on the ground over the past two weeks, giving up a total of 478 rushing yards to the Broncos and the Jets. That’s gotta be music to the ears of Justin Forsett and the road graders up front. The Ravens are set up to have a big day on the ground, and they are going to have to deliver. Miami has the 2nd best pass defense in the league, and they are 1st when it comes to yards per attempt. Miami does a great job of limiting the big play, so Joe Flacco will have to be accurate on his short and intermediate passes to extend drives and put points on the board. He’ll also want to be extra careful when targeting Brent Grimes’ receiver. Grimes is 2nd in the league with 5 interceptions, and he’s been known to do otherworldly shit like this.

Miami boasts a strong pass rush to go along with their playmakers in the secondary. They’re 7th in the league in sacks, with Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon leading the way with 9.5 sacks and 5.5 sacks, respectively. It will definitely be a tough matchup for the Ravens’ offensive line, but I think that they’ll be up to the challenge. The Ravens are tied for 2nd in the league when it comes to limiting sacks, surrendering only 15 on the season.

Ravens’ Defense vs. Dolphins’ Offense
Ryan Tannehill and company present a unique and difficult matchup for the Ravens with their read-option. The Dolphins have ran 146 read-option plays for 721 yards, which are both the highest totals in the league (Meoli). Tannehill is always a threat to keep the rock, too. He’s ran for 289 yards on just 45 carries this season. Before Haloti Ngata suspended himself for being a dumbass, I wouldn’t have given a shit what kind of run game the Dolphins had. I would’ve been confident that the Ravens would shut it down. I still like the Ravens’ chances of containing Lamar Miller and Tannehill on the ground, but it’s no longer a certainty. I’d still do unforgivable things to take a snap from Lauren Tannehill, though. That’s a fucking certainty that you can take to the bank.

laurentannehill

Now it’s time for my least favorite part of these weekly previews: addressing the Ravens’ historically terrible pass defense. The franchise’s record for most passing yards allowed in a season was set in 1996 with 3,969 yards. This season, the Ravens are on pace to give up 4,383 yards through the air (Wilson). Good grief. Getting back Asa Jackson should help some, but I wouldn’t expect too much from a guy who hasn’t played in two months in his first game back. The Dolphins’ main weapons in the passing game are our old pal Mike Wallace and rookie Jarvis Landry. On the season, Wallace has caught 54 balls for 661 yards and 7 TDs, and Landry has reeled in 57 passes for 518 yards and 5 TDs. In recent weeks, though, Landry has overtaken Wallace as the number one option in Miami’s passing attack. Over the last five weeks, Landry has caught 32 passes for 263 yards and 4 TDs, while Wallace has caught 22 passes for 243 yards and 2 TDs. As is the case every week, the pass rush is going to have to be dominant to cover for the Ravens’ horrendous secondary. The good news is that Miami’s offensive line is beatable. They’ve given up 28 sacks on the season, which ties them for 15th in the league.

Terrell Suggs

Rapid Fire Notes
• When these two teams met up last season, Terrell Suggs had three sacks.
• Under John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 17-11 in regular season games in December and January (Downing).
• Miami is 28th in the league in kickoff return coverage and 24th in covering punts (Jones).
• The Ravens are 21st in the league in red zone efficiency and 27th in third down defense. The Ravens have to tighten up in both areas if they are going to make the playoffs.

Let’s go Ravens!

cover pic: Drew’s Morning Dish

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