Preview: Ravens Visit the Dolphins in Primetime
The Ravens travel to South Florida for a Thursday night matchup against the Miami Dolphins. The Ravens and Dolphins are trending in opposite directions, with the Ravens near the top of the AFC standings while the Dolphins are near the bottom with a record of 2-7. After barely missing the playoffs in 2020, the Dolphins were poised to make the playoffs in 2021 behind second year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. But injuries and poor quarterback play has derailed the Dolphins season.
This will be the first away game for the Ravens since week four against the Denver Broncos. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense will look to get off to a quicker start, as they look to take advantage of one of the worst defenses in the league in every statistical category.
Nick Boyle Could Make Season Debut
Nick Boyle returned to the practice field last week practicing for the first time since a devastating knee injury ended his 2020 season. Boyle was activated to the 53-man roster on Monday making him eligible to make his season debut on Thursday night.
The Ravens have missed Boyle, who is considered one of the best blocking tight ends in the league. Boyle’s return gives the Ravens more options in the run game as they were limited with fellow tight ends Josh Oliver and Eric Tomlinson, who are not the blockers that Boyle is. Boyle isn’t just a blocking tight end however, he is also a sure handed receiver. While he doesn’t get many targets he makes the most of his opportunities rarely dropping a pass thrown his way. Boyle’s presence will take some pressure off of Mark Andrews because of his pass catching ability. Defenses must respect Boyle’s ability, while simultaneously allowing Andrews to be split out wide much more in various formations.
Defense Vs. Miami Quarterbacks
The Ravens defense has struggled to get to the quarterback all year, as they rank 26th in the NFL with only 15 sacks. But Thursday night could be a great opportunity for Ravens pass rushers to frequent the Miami backfield. The Dolphins have given up 23 sacks through nine weeks, 12th most in the league. The Dolphins struggle offensively averaging just under 300 yards a game, good for 30th in the NFL. One bright spot for the Dolphins offense has been rookie first-round receiver Jaylen Waddle. Through nine games Waddle has 56 receptions for 496 yards and three touchdowns. The Ravens defense must make Waddle a focal point as he has gone over 50 yards five times including 83 yards last week against the Texans.
The big question for the Ravens defense however will be which Miami quarterback will they be facing on Thursday night. Regular starter Tua Tagovailoa who was sidelined for three weeks with broken ribs, returned to the field in week six playing the next three weeks. But a fractured finger suffered in week eight against the Buffalo Bills caused Tagovailoa to miss last Sundays game against the Houston Texans. Tagovailoa will be a game time decision. If Tagovailoa can’t play for a second straight week the Dolphins will turn to backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett who has filled in during Tagovailoa’s absences. Brissett lead the Dolphins to a 17-9 win over the Texans last Sunday.
The Ravens have owned the Dolphins as of late outscoring Miami 137-16 in their last three matchups. The Ravens will look to use Thursday night as a “get right” game, as they look to beat up on a less then stellar opponent. While the Ravens will once again likely be without running back Latavius Murray as he recovers from a sprained ankle. Ravens running back Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell will look to attack a Dolphins defense that gives up over 100 yards rushing per game.
The Ravens offense will have no issues moving the ball as Lamar has another spectacular primetime performance as he effectively uses his arm more then his legs to spread the ball around to receivers Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman who will score his first touchdown Thursday night. The Ravens defense will play their most complete game since giving up only six points in a win over Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers. Who will be under center for the Dolphins is still up in the air but whoever it is will have no effect on the final outcome as the Ravens handle the Dolphins 41-20.
Line: Baltimore -7.5
All-Time Record: Baltimore leads series 10-6
Last Meeting: 9/8/19 Baltimore 59-10