Game Scout: Ravens at Dolphins

The Sports Xchange

October 04, 2013 at 11:50 am.

Sep 29, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) runs against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Ravens 23-20. Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Miami Dolphins (3-1)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Sun Life Stadium, Miami – TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Marv Albert, Rich Gannon

*Keys to the game: Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 18 games due to a combination of poor protection and holding onto the ball too long at times. The result has been six fumbles – three lost – and an offense that has been inconsistent at best. RB Lamar Miller showed some pop last week and any help from the ground game will be extremely helpful to that pass rush. Baltimore’s revamp secondary gives up yards in chunks, and scuffling WR Mike Wallace (15 catches) has an opportunity to get his season untracked against an opponent he is very familiar with from his years in Pittsburgh. Baltimore’s offense had a franchise-low nine running plays that produced a mere 24 yards last week, which isn’t the recipe to fix a struggling offensive line. QB Joe Flacco can have success against Miami’s 24th-ranked pass defense, but he’s also coming off a five-interception game and lacks the downfield threats to be efficient in a one-dimension attack.

*Matchup to watch – Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Dolphins defense: Rice has been slowed by a hip injury and Baltimore got away from the ground game last week, but they need a healthier Rice to be more involved this week. That includes in the passing game after the Dolphins’ linebackers and safeties struggled mightily to contain Saints RB Darren Spoles last week.

*Player spotlight – Dolphins LB Dannell Ellerbe: The former Ravens is tied for third in the NFL with 38 tackles, and Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said he has been impressed with Ellerbe’s sideline to sideline play this season.

*Fast facts: Rice leads NFL running backs with 322 receptions since entering the league in 2008. … Tannehill has 20 fumbles – seven lost – through his first 20 career starts.


These offenses are similar in the respect they’re not running the ball effectively and can’t protect their quarterbacks, who are turning the ball over too frequently. Look for the Ravens to take a page out of New Orleans’ game plan and utilize RB Ray Rice early in the running and passing games.

*Our pick: Ravens 21-20