Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins (-3)
Over/Under @ 43 ½
On the beach, in the bars, along Ocean Drive, Ravens fans are everywhere in South Florida and their collective mission today is to take over Sun Life Stadium.
Will their favorite team do the same?
The Ravens have struggled on the road thus far in 2013 and they are pitted against a team today that is 6 days removed from a Cajun spanking courtesy of the New Orleans Saints, but a team on the rise nonetheless. They’ll tee it up today in very hot conditions with temps in the upper 80’s accompanied by sweltering humidity. It would almost be shocking if the Ravens are not forced to wear their purple today as they have just about every time they take on the Dolphins in Florida.
The Ravens have struggled during the regular season against The Phins in Dade County sporting a (1-4) record, the last 2 losses being overtime defeats. The Ravens are (2-0) in the playoffs at Miami.
The 2013 Dolphins sport a (3-1) record and the NFL’s 10th ranked rushing defense. After the play calling debacle in last week’s 23-20 loss in Buffalo to the Bills the Ravens will look to get some traction for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce but it won’t be easy and they’ll need to show much more patience with the run this week.
Statistically the teams are evenly matched (see below) and when that happens, home field advantage oftentimes factors in. Oddsmakers have the Dolphins listed as a 3 point favorite today.
The Ravens are (19-6) following a loss under John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco has shown resiliency after a poor outing. He’s (3-0) in starts following games in which he’s thrown 3 or more interceptions. Will he make it (4-0)?
Look for Flacco to eventually get untracked but it won’t happen early as the Ravens will try to establish the run and try to win the time of possession battle to keep their defense fresh in the tropical conditions. Once they do Flacco should be able to throw the ball effectively on first down and it’s then that they finally get the offense in gear.
Defensively this could be a coming out party for the Sizzle and Doom show as Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil put the shaky Dolphins O-Line to work and disrupt QB Ryan Tannehill’s rhythm. The sophomore signal caller has hit the deck 18 times so far in 2013. He’ll add another 4 to that today.
In the end, the team that plays the cleanest game will win what promises to be a physical battle. The champs have been embarrassed twice on the road this season. Today they stop the bleeding away from home and keep pace with the Cleveland Browns. They’ll need to with Green Bay coming to Baltimore next week.
PREDICTION: RAVENS 23, DOLPHINS 21
Last Week: 0-1 v. Winner, 0-1 v. Spread
Season Total: 1-3 v. Winner, 1-3 v. Spread