The bye week has come and gone and the first place Baltimore Ravens of the AFC North host the 4-3 Miami Dolphins of the AFC East. The Ravens defense is coming off of one of the poorer performances in which they surrendered 34 points to the winless Buffalo Bills at home in Baltimore.
The Ravens allowed four touchdown passes and 382 yards passes from Bills’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and this week they match up against another dynamic offense in Chad Henne and the Miami Dolphins who are coming off another impressive win on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals. Though Henne didn’t throw a touchdown pass, he completed 24 passes for 217 yards.
Baltimore’s defensive ranks haven’t been among the elite as they have been in year’s past. Going into week 9, Baltimore ranks 7th overall in points allowed with an average of 18.4, 10th in yards allowed with 313.9, 9th in pass yards allowed with 204.6 and 17th in rush yards allowed with 109.3.
In comparison, Miami’s offensive numbers are also very middle of the road. They average 19 points per game with 343.7 yards, 232.4 pass yards and 111.3 rush yards. The key for Baltimore will be to stop they’re running game and to force Chad Henne to beat you. With Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams averaging 4.1 and 4.4 yards per carry respectively and Baltimore recently struggling to stop the run against the Browns and Bills, the Ravens must force Henne to try and defeat them in the air.
For Baltimore, pressure on the quarterback is crucial. They have had trouble getting pressure up front from Terrell Suggs this season, who has 3.5 sacks on the year.
Though Baltimore will be playing without safety Tom Zbikowski, having Ed Reed with a week’s rest should solidify their pass defense against Henne and Miami’s receivers. Though Brandon Marshall can provide a threat against the Ravens defense down field, he’s only seen the end zone once this season and I would rather challenge Henne’s arm than Miami’s ground game.