SUNDAY'S GAME: vs. Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium, 1 p.m.
LAST TIME: The Ravens pummeled the Dolphins in Miami twice during the 2008 season, including a 27-9 romp in the playoffs. Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington threw four interceptions in the wild-card game, two to Ed Reed, who returned one for a 64-yard touchdown. Joe Flacco was only 9-for-23 for the Ravens, who rushed for 151 yards.
DOLPHINS THIS SEASON: The Dolphins are 4-3 in the AFC East, trailing both the Patriots and Jets. They are unbeaten in four road games and winless in three home games. The Dolphins have won at Buffalo, Minnesota, Green Bay (overtime) and Cincinnati.
DOLPHINS OFFENSE: Chad Henne, who came to the NFL in the same draft class with Flacco, is the starter and Pennington the backup. Henne has completed 63.4 percent of his throws this season for an average of 238 yards, with 8 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Although the Dolphins have fallen off from the fourth-best rush offense in the NFL a year ago to 16th this year, the offensive line has allowed just one sack in the past three games. Left tackle Jake Long and right tackle Vernon Carey were both first-round picks.
Henne's go-to receiver is Brandon Marshall (47 catches, 12.5 average and only one touchdown). Davone Bess, who made his first start of the season on Sunday, has 39 catches and a team-high 3 touchdowns. Ronnie Brown (374 yards, 4.1 average rush) and Ricky Williams (335, 4.4) split carries behind fullback Lousaka Polite. Miami has issues in the red zone. Williams' rushing touchdown on Sunday in Cincinnati was the team's first rushing touchdown since Week 1. The Dolphins haven't run the Wildcat offense as much this year, either. They have just four rushes the past four games out of the Wildcat, and only 20 Wildcat plays this season. The Dolphins have scored just 25 points in the fourth quarter as well.DOLPHINS DEFENSE: Former Ravens coordinator Mike Nolan is the Dolphins' new coordinator this season, running a defense that is familiar to the Ravens. The thing they do best is pressure the quarterback. The Dolphins have 17 sacks already and 8 turnovers. Weakside linebacker Cameron Wake, a former CFL star, leads the team with 6.5 sacks and cornerback Jason Allen leads with three interceptions.
Allen, however, was benched after giving up a first-quarter touchdown last week and 6-4 Sean Smith played the rest of the game. Vontae Davis, a former first-round pick, starts at left corner. Strong safety Yeremiah Bell and inside linebacker Karlos Dansby rank 1-2 in tackles with 55 and 51, respectively. Still, Miami gives up 101.6 rush yards and 207.9 passing per game. They've also given up 17 touchdowns so far, 10 passing.
DOLPHINS SPECIAL TEAMS: Breakdowns on special teams already cost John Bonamego his job as coordinator. He was fired after the Patriots ravaged Miami on special teams in a 41-14 rout. The Dolphins are better in the punt game, both returning and covering, than kickoffs. And they have a good kicker in Dan Carpenter, who has hit 18 of 20 field goals, including a game-winner against Green Bay.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Ravens must play two physical, tough teams in the space of five days, starting with Miami. The Dolphins' road success makes this a dangerous game for the Ravens, who have won six straight home games and 13 of their last 16 in M&T. Miami is scrambling to catch the Patriots and Jets in their division.
Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by The Baltimore Sun. The Sun Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.