By Chris Schisler
1. A slower start than you’d like for the Baltimore Ravens:
I’d like to predict that the Baltimore Ravens come out and get on top of the Dolphins with a masterful first quarter. That would have been nice all season and so far it hasn’t been the M.O. of this team. It’s a short week, the Ravens looked unprepared after the bye week.
Do I think it will be a disaster, where the Dolphins get up on them early? No. Just don’t expect the Ravens to come out and look incredibly sharp on their first couple of drives. The Ravens have made it a trend this season and it’s something to be mindful of. We’re not talking about spotting the Dolphins a couple of scores. Don’t get ready for doom and gloom. This Ravens team though has shown that it takes them a bit to find their rhythm.
2. Mark Andrews goes off:
When you look at where the Dolphins have talent on the defensive side of the football, the cornerback position may be their best spot. We recently learned that the Ravens tried to trade for Xavien Howard and Byron Jones isn’t a slouch. The Dolphins defense has struggled against the pass nonetheless giving up over 280 yards in the air per game.
While I can see the receivers being slowed down just a bit, who do the Dolphins have to stop Mark Andrews? Absolutely nobody. Andrews is the matchup nightmare in this game and he faces the path of the least resistance. Look for Andrews to have his third game over 100 yards in this contest. Jackson should have a big game with his favorite big target creating space in the middle of the field.
3. The Ravens will convert on two fourth-down attempts:
Sometimes I like to throw a fun prediction into the mix. I predicted the Ravens to have a slower start and a bit of a feeling-out process to start this game right? Well, fourth-down conversions are John Harbaugh’s favorite way to spark this team when it’s necessary. The Ravens are seven for 11 on fourth downs this season. The Dolphins have a defense that struggles in these situations. Dolphins’ opponents have converted on fourth down attempts five out of eight tries.
This prediction is therefore two-fold. Not only will the Ravens be aggressive, but it’s their aggressiveness on fourth down that will get the momentum rolling their way. Again, this is more of a fun prediction, but it’s rooted in two very fundamental truths. First, the Ravens like to go for it and have tons of matchup advantages in this game. Secondly, the Dolphins have a bad track record of getting off the field defensively. That doesn’t just go for fourth down.
4. The Baltimore Ravens defense picks off three passes:
Tua Tagovailoa has been dealing with injuries and is questionable for this game. It doesn’t really matter who the quarterback is, interceptions are in the forecast. This is a Ravens defense that could use a confidence booster, especially in the secondary after losing De’Shon Elliott to injury. Tua Tagovailoa has thrown five interceptions in five games. Jacoby Brissett has thrown four interceptions in seven games.
This screams out as a game that Don Martindale is going to bring a lot of pressure at the quarterback. Pressure hasn’t helped the Dolphins this season, and their offensive line is a problem area. Sacks would have been a decent spot to go with this prediction, but interceptions are the result the Ravens will be looking for. Let’s give the Ravens three picks. One pick will be by Josh Bynes. One will be by Brandon Stephens, who will step up admirably in Elliott’s spot. The third interception will be by Anthony Averett.
And now a score: Baltimore Ravens win 28-17
The Dolphins have a chance to make this harder than it has to be. It’s worth noting that they’ve only been blown out by the Buffalo Bills and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Dolphins have been competitive. While I don’t think they have the talent to win this game unless the Ravens give it to them, I do see a Thursday night fight. Look for a close first half. Dolphins turnovers will allow the Ravens to pull away with a win that’s more convincing on the scoreboard than actuality.
Alright, it’s game day on a short week. Let’s get it Ravens Flock!