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Jeff Zrebiec's scouting report for the Ravens and Dolphins

RAVENS PASSING GAME: Joe Flacco is on pace for 16 touchdown passes, which would be his lowest in a full season since he threw 14 in his rookie year. He ranks 29th in quarterback rating (80.4) and he hasn't posted a rating over 100 since Week 1. Team officials feel like he's made better and quicker decisions the last two weeks. He's thrown one interception over the past nine quarters. The Ravens are the worst third-down team in the NFL, converting at a 33.3 percent clip. Six Ravens have more than 20 receptions.

DOLPHINS PASSING GAME: Fifth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill is playing the best football of his career under coach Adam Gase. During the Dolphins' six-game winning streak, Tannehill has thrown for 1,302 yards and nine touchdowns with just one interception. His quarterback rating in the fourth quarter during the streak is 120.7. Jarvis Landry entered the week 10th in the NFL with 64 receptions and leads a young and dynamic receiving group. The Dolphins' offensive line is getting healthier.

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(EDGE: DOLPHINS)

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RAVENS RUNNING GAME: There have been drives in which the Ravens have gained some traction on the ground, but they haven't been able to sustain it through a full game. As a team, they're averaging just 3.6 yards per carry. Only three teams are averaging less. Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon have essentially been splitting carries evenly the past two weeks. Ravens coach John Harbaugh seems content with that arrangement, although Dixon, who had 79 all-purpose yards last week, is pushing for more touches.

DOLPHINS RUNNING GAME: Second-year running back Jay Ajayi has been one of the NFL's breakout stars this year, although he's been slowed in recent weeks by defenses focused on stopping him. In a three-game span this season, he rushed for 529 yards and four touchdowns. In three games since, he's been held below 80 yards each game and has just one score in that time. According to Pro Football Focus, Ajayi averages more yards after contact than any running back in the league. The Ravens will need to gang tackle him.

(EDGE: DOLPHINS)

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RAVENS RUSH DEFENSE: In seven of their 11 games, the Ravens haven't allowed opponents to rush for more than 65 yards. For the season, they're surrendering just 74.9 rushing yards per game, which leads the league. They've also allowed only four rushing touchdowns, tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for a league low. The Ravens did not allow a touchdown to an opposing running back in the last four games. Weak-side linebacker Zachary Orr has double-digit tackles in five of the past six games.

DOLPHINS RUSH DEFENSE: Despite the presence of four-time Pro Bowl selection Ndamukong Suh in the middle, the Dolphins are giving up 132.2 yards per game on the ground. Only the winless Cleveland Browns and the one-win San Francisco 49ers have given up more. The Dolphins have allowed three 100-yard rushers this season. Suh leads all interior defensive linemen with 51 tackles. Healthy again, middle linebacker Kiko Alonso is sixth in the AFC with 90 tackles.

(EDGE: RAVENS)

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RAVENS PASS DEFENSE: The expected return of cornerback Jimmy Smith should give the Ravens a boost, especially against a team with three quality receivers. Smith being back will likely push Shareece Wright into a reserve role. The Ravens have gone back-to-back games without an interception for the first time all year. Miami's Ryan Tannehill has been extremely accurate when given time, so expect defensive coordinator Dean Pees to be aggressive, assuming the Ravens have the Dolphins' run game under wraps.

DOLPHINS PASS DEFENSE: Much like the Ravens with Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, the Dolphins have two veteran edge rushers. Cameron Wake has done his part with 8 ½ sacks. Mario Williams has 1 ½ sacks and has been bothered by an ankle injury. Suh (5 sacks) and Andrew Branch (4 ½ sacks) are also pass-rushing threats. This group ranks ninth in the NFL, allowing 229.7 passing yards per game. Miami has the No.1 third-down defense in the NFL. Cornerback Byron Maxwell is vulnerable against speedy receivers.

(EDGE: EVEN)

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RAVENS SPECIAL TEAMS: Justin Tucker's 34 straight successful field-goal attempts is the sixth-longest streak in NFL history. He's 7-of-7 from 50 yards and beyond this year, after going 8-for-19 on such kicks the previous two years. Penalties continue to hurt the return teams, although Devin Hester Sr. is coming off one of his best games of the season. Against the Cincinnati Bengals, he averaged 21 yards on three kickoff returns and 16.3 yards on three punt returns.

DOLPHINS SPECIAL TEAMS: Miami has gotten some explosive plays on special teams this year. Rookie Kenyan Drake's 96-yard kickoff return late in the fourth quarter provided the winning points in a Week 9 victory over the New York Jets. Drake also had a 78-yard return in last Sunday's victory over the 49ers. Fellow rookie Jakeem Grant scored on a 74-yard punt return against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. Kicker Andrew Franks has a big leg, but he has had two field-goal attempts blocked this season.

(EDGE: RAVENS)

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RAVENS INTANGIBLES: The Ravens, under Harbaugh, had beaten the Dolphins five straight times before Miami prevailed at home last December in a game Matt Schaub started for the visitors. They haven't been overly impressive, but the Ravens have strung together three wins in their past four games. They're 32-15 at home in December since 1996. Tannehill has struggled in noisy venues in the past, so the Ravens have spent time this week encouraging their fans to get into the game early.

DOLPHINS INTANGIBLES: Most NFL pundits still don't consider the Dolphins legitimate Super Bowl contenders, but that doesn't diminish the job Gase has done in changing the culture of a team known in recent years for underachieving. Gase has held his players accountable and instilled a confidence that has allowed the team to erase four fourth-quarter deficits during this six-game winning streak. Miami hasn't won seven games in a row since 1985. The Dolphins are 2-3 on the road this season.

(EDGE: EVEN)

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PREDICTION: The Ravens and Dolphins have played 22 combined games this season and 17 of them have been decided by seven points or fewer, so it's pretty clear where this one is headed. Unlike last week, the Ravens better put the Dolphins away if they get a lead because Miami has something special in their favor late in games. Still, it's hard not to give the Ravens the slight edge. They're at home, their offense has played a little bit better in recent weeks and their defense has been solid much of the year. Plus, they have the NFL's best kicker, who is plenty comfortable with the game on the line.

Ravens, 23-20

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