It’s that time of year again! Just like last year, the Ravens are 3-4, with a mediocre offense, and face a potential disaster of being out of the playoff hunt just halfway through the season. If you watched the previous two games that Baltimore played in, you would know they suck. They suck badly. Their offense is atrocious, in fact, this may be the worst Ravens offense I have ever seen. On top of a terrible offense, the defense can’t stop any opposing rushers. It has been a tough first half of the season for the Ravens, as they have dropped four of their last five games. Tonight, the Ravens take on an opponent on a role, who’s won three straight. The Miami Dolphins are hot and looking to add another victory to their win column. The forecast looks gloomy for the Baltimore Ravens, but the sky may be clear tonight. Here are the three keys to a Baltimore victory, along with my prediction for the outcome of the game.
Ravens Need Either WR Mike Wallace or Jeremy Maclin to Play
At the time of writing this article, the Ravens have yet to announce whether or not wide receivers Mike Wallace or Jeremy Maclin will play in Thursday night’s game against the Dolphins. Last week, the Ravens were missing their top three receivers and the offense suffered because of it. Both Breshad Perriman and Jeremy Maclin missed the game with injuries, and Mike Wallace sustained a concussion in just the second drive of the game. The Baltimore offense barely moved the ball, and only managed to score a touchdown on a meaningless last play of the game. The offense is bad enough with both Maclin and Wallace out but is even worse without them. If the Ravens want to move the ball through the air, they are going to need either Wallace or Maclin to play. No offense to either Griff Whalen or Chris Moore, but neither should really be a starting wideout in the NFL right now. Joe Flacco could play lights out, delivering balls on perfect passes, but it is up to the wide receivers to make the catch happen. Too many times this season, we have seen the mediocre receivers fail the offense. Frankly, I don’t see the Ravens passing attack scoring any points unless either Maclin or Wallace plays, but the ground attack is a different story.
Running Game Needs to Dominate
So I’ve practically given up on the Ravens passing attack this season so far, as it plain sucks. However, there is a way to score on offense without passing efficiently. The old ground and pound style of football needs to carry the Baltimore Ravens to victory. This sounds like a great plan, except there are two huge problems. First, the Ravens offensive line kinda sorta sucks. In their defense, the offensive line is missing three players to the injury reserve. It’s hard to replace one of the best guards in the league, Marshal Yanda, with a fifth-round rookie in Jermaine Eluemunor. Eluemunor probably would not have even started if Nico Siragusa didn’t completely demolish his knee while running this offseason. To those of you who don’t know, Siragusa simultaneously tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL, in the same knee. That’s not exactly the best way to start your rookie season. Baltimore also lost Alex Lewis to injury this year, who would have likely started at left guard, where James Hurst is now. The second problem is that the Ravens do not have a workhorse running back. Like the offensive line, the Ravens have lost some key players to injuries. Both of Baltimore’s best running backs, Terrance West and Danny Woodhead will miss this game. Alex Collins and Javorius “Buck” Allen are set to lead the ground attack. Both are talented, but neither are true number one backs. If the Ravens want to succeed on the ground, they will need to find a way to use both to their strengths. Collins is a talented shifty back, and Allen is great in the passing game. The Ravens will also need their offensive line to provide enough room for the running backs to find their way through and dominate on the ground.
Ravens Rush Defense Needs To Dominate
The Dolphins are missing their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, and Matt Moore is going to fill the role. To be fair, Matt Moore probably should have had the starting role as soon as Ryan Tannehill went down this past offseason. Moore is very capable of leading the Dolphins to victory, as he did it last year when Tannehill got injured, and last week against the Jets. Despite Moore having the ability to perform well, the Ravens secondary will not allow it. I fully expect Brandon Carr and company to give Moore fits on the field. The Dolphins will then put the ball in the hands of their prolific running back, Jay Ajayi. If the Ravens run defense can stop Ajayi on the ground, the Dolphins offense will stall, and Baltimore could win the football game. The only problem is that the Ravens run defense isn’t very good. Without defensive tackle Brandon Williams, they struggled against the likes of Le’veon Bell, Marshawn Lynch, and Leonard Fournette. However, Brandon Williams returned last week, and the Ravens still struggled in ground defense. Baltimore is currently last in the league in run defense, which is absurd for a Ravens defense. It is absolutely necessary that Baltimore improves against the Dolphins. Not only the outcome of the game, but the outcome of the season depends on it.
Ravens vs Dolphins Game Predictions
The Ravens may have had a bad streak, but I still believe in them. This game against the Miami Dolphins could very well determine whether the Ravens are in or out of the playoff hunt this December. For a game of such magnitude, on a Thursday night, I can’t see the Ravens losing. Yes, they have had a bad offense and a bad run defense, but my gut tells me that this game is going to be different. Maybe I’m too hopeful, but I genuinely believe that Baltimore will get their much-needed victory.
- Joe Flacco will pass for over 250+ yards, and throw 3 touchdowns.
- Alex Collins and Buck Allen will combine for 150 yards on the ground.
- Jeremy Maclin receives for over 100 yards and one touchdown.
- Nick Boyle grabs one touchdown, as does Griff Whalen.
- Matt Moore throws for one touchdown and one interception.
- Marlon Humphrey get’s his first interception of his young career.
- Jay Ajayi rushes for over 100 yards and one touchdown.
FINAL Score: 28-14