There’s not one Ravens player, coach, employee, or fan who thinks they should’ve lost to the Chargers last week. Losing a game in which you score 33 points at home is inexcusable, especially when you had multiple opportunities to put the game away and didn’t.
But talk is cheap. Nothing can be done about it now. Let’s look forward to Baltimore’s game at Miami. Here are five things to look for in that match-up.
Can Baltimore contain Tannehill?
Ryan Tannehill, like many young quarterbacks, is talented but has struggled to produce consistently. Part of that was due to a sub-par offensive line, which is now much better.
Tannehill excels when throwing on the run. He’s tied for 2nd for the highest yards per carry average among quarterbacks (6.7 yards, minimum 40 attempts). He also has more runs of 20-plus yards (4) than Eddie Lacy (3), Frank Gore (2), and Giovani Bernard (1).
When outside the pocket, Tannehill isn’t as good as Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, or Tony Romo, but he’s above average. Watch to see how Baltimore’s defensive ends and outside linebackers play Tannehill when he’s on the move.
Mike Wallace for six?
Unless you live under a rock or were born yesterday, you know the Ravens have struggled mightily to defend the pass. Mike Wallace, Miami’s current No. 1 receiver, is fully capable of taking advantage of Baltimore’s porous secondary.
Though he’s only scored once in nine career games against the Ravens, Wallace has averaged at least 12 yards per reception in six of those contests. He’s a big play waiting to happen. The Ravens need to shore up their coverage and communication in a hurry if they don’t want Wallace to score on Sunday.
Can Cam break through?
Cameron Wake is a Top 5 pass rusher in the NFL (after Aldon Smith, Von Miller, J.J. Watt, and Justin Houston). Wake currently has 8.5 sacks to go along with 3 forced fumbles this season. The DeMatha product has recorded 60 sacks in 88 career games.
Keep an eye on how Juan Castillo schemes against Wake. Castillo may choose to keep a tight end in-line to help block, but he might be overruled by Gary Kubiak, since Kubiak may need tight ends to run routes in the event Torrey Smith is inactive.
Ravens in the red zone
It’s no mystery that Baltimore suffered from not being able to convert their drives into touchdowns last week. What’s so puzzling is that the Ravens have been scoring touchdowns in bunches all year.
Out of the 32 teams in the NFL, Baltimore ranks 6th in points scored (328). They are one of four teams to score at least 10 rushing touchdowns and at least 20 passing touchdowns (New Orleans, Philadelphia, New England).
The Ravens have what it takes to score with the best offenses in the league, but will they be able to personify that potential, just one week after they failed to do so? It won’t be easy, as the Dolphins boast the 6th ranked scoring defense in the league (19.9 points allowed per game).
Will the Ravens divide or conquer?
This game represents an opportunity for the Ravens to either fall apart or overcome the adversity they brought upon themselves. Miami isn’t a great team but they are good enough to test Baltimore’s mettle. The Ravens can’t afford to lose any more games if they want a practical chance of making the playoffs.
If they come together, they can be a great team. If not, they should start planning their vacations.
Dolphins 27, Ravens 23