After a week of rest to hopefully to adjust some worrisome spots on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, the Ravens come back from a bye week at 5-2 to face a formidable Miami Dolphins (4-3) who loves winning on the road. What will the birds do to stave off the fish?
If the Ravens did anything over the bye week, they had to fix the pass rush. The Ravens are ranked near the bottom of the League in sacks (24th) giving quarterback time to get their hair done (Tom Brady). If the Ravens are going to make a run at the playoffs and beyond, the second half of the season has to produce more pressure on the QB’s they face. Playing lethargic as they did in the 4th quarter of the Patriots game and their last outing against the Bills will not result in a win against the Dolphins. In addition to the woeful push rush, the secondary was springing leaks as well. Fabian Washington has looked shook and has been getting burned left, right or center. The return of Ed Reed brings some help to the secondary but HC John Harbaugh may be looking for another starter come Sunday. With the size of ‘Phins WR Brandon Marshall, the Ravens can ill afford to have breakdowns in the secondary or a lack of tackling. Marshall will be a problem the Ravens will have to contain.
On the offensive side of the ball, maybe a week off has given QB Joe Flacco and his new wide receiving toys more time to gel and perfect their timing. Donte Stallworth is returning from being out with a foot, but his return will more than likely spark the return game. The offense should be aided by a supposedly healthy Ray Rice, but this ‘Phins defense doesn’t allow much in total offense being ranked ahead of the Ravens at #8 in the League.
On paper, this game looks to be a low scoring affair with both teams being ranked in the top ten in total yards on defense. If the Ravens are to win, they are going to have to get at ‘Phins QB Chad Henne. Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush. It can’t be said enough.
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Written by Lea Anderson