A roundup of NFL experts' picks for Sunday's game between the Ravens and Miami Dolphins.
* ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio and Michael David Smith both think the Ravens to lose, but they differ on the final score.
MDS’s take: Perhaps it’s premature, four weeks into the season, to say this about the defending Super Bowl champion. But I just don’t think the Ravens are a very good team. The Dolphins’ defense had plenty of flaws on display in Monday night’s loss to the Saints, but the Ravens’ suspect offensive line is going to make it easy for the Dolphins to get to Joe Flacco. MDS’s pick: Dolphins 31, Ravens 17.
Florio’s take: In 2007, the Dolphins got their only win of the season against the Ravens. This year, it will be one of a lot more than one. While it’s too early to write off Baltimore, it’s too late to consider them a viable candidate to knock off the improved Dolphins in Miami. Florio’s pick: Dolphins 27, Ravens 20.
* CBS Sports' Pete Prisco expects the Dolphins to edge the Ravens, 21-20.
The Dolphins are playing on a short week after getting blown out by the Saints. The Ravens are a tough team to try and regroup against. The Ravens are playing consecutive road games, and didn't play well last week at Buffalo. I think Miami will bounce back here at home to get to 4-1, but it will be close.
* Don Banks of SI.com also believes the Ravens will lose in Miami. His score prediction is 22-17.
Both teams looked shaky in losing on the road last week, but at least the Dolphins had the excuse of running into the undefeated Saints in the Superdome on a Monday night. The locals in New Orleans tend to get up for such affairs, after they've had all day to, um, prepare for the festivities. Apropos of nothing, a friend of mine made the observation the other day that Miami's new stylized dolphin helmet logo reminded him of the USFL's long-gone Boston Breakers' logo, with the cresting wave. I looked it up to refresh my memory and I can see where he's coming from.
* ESPN's Mike Golic, Ron Jaworski, Mark Schlereth and Seth Wickersham pick the Ravens, but the rest of the analysts take the Dolphins. As of this posting, Mike Ditka hasn't made a choice.
* Yahoo Sports' Les Carpenter and Frank Schwab both predict a loss for the Ravens.
* John Breech of CBS Sports thinks the Ravens will lose by a touchdown.
* Three out of seven USA Today analysts believe the Ravens will win. Jarrett Bell, Jim Corbett and Nate Davis pick the Ravens.
* Jason La Canfora, Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg of CBS Sports all pick the Ravens to win, but the other five analysts choose the Dolphins.
* The Huffington Post's Barbara Bruno takes the Ravens.
Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco completed only 50 percent of his passes in Week 4, on his way to completing five passes to the opposing team. Flacco and Tom Brady should form their own support group: "Star quarterbacks missing their favorite slot receiver." Though the INT's are out of character, the shocker of the day was that the Ravens attempted only nine rushes in the entire game. Nine. Seriously? They must do better than that on the ground or the Miami D is going to have Flacco doing a repeat performance -- even if the new OT (Eugene Monroe from Jacksonville) can improve on the protection.
Defensively, the Ravens need to figure out how to rush the passer. They used to know. They won a Super Bowl knowing. It cannot be simply the lack of Ray Lewis.
Miami defensive end Cameron Wake is out due to injury, which was probably the only smile Flacco had all week. The 'Fins defenders were roundly thrashed by the Saints' insanely varied offense on Monday night. They should fare better against a Ravens' attack that has yet to find their feet in 2013. The teams match up evenly across almost all statistics, but the Ravens' defense should find a way to manhandle a Miami O-line that was thoroughly exposed by Rob Ryan's new/old look New Orleans' D.
* On Showtime's Inside the NFL, Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth both pick the Dolphins.
* On CBSSports.com, former professional wrestler Jake "The Snake" Roberts chooses the Ravens.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun