Five things the Miami Dolphins (2-7) need to do to beat the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens (6-2) Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium in Week 10:
Limit Lamar Jackson’s scrambling
Jackson is the definition of a dual-threat quarterback because he can beat teams with his arm (2,209 passing yards and 13 touchdowns) and his legs (600 rushing yards and two touchdowns). Anytime Jackson, who averages 6.2 yards per carry this season and 6.1 yards per carry in his career, scrambles he’s a threat to score. The Dolphins will need to spy the South Florida product with a linebacker (Jerome Baker) or safety (Brandon Jones) to keep the Pro Bowl quarterback from wrecking the game with his legs. Jackson averages 64.9 rushing yards per game and the Ravens average 161 rushing yards per game.
Rush for more than 100 yards
If there was a game where Miami needed its run game to come alive, helping the offense maintain possession and keeping pressure off the defense, it’s against this physical Baltimore team. The Dolphins have struggled to run the ball this season, averaging a league worst 75.1 rushing yards per game, and 3.5 yards per attempt. The Ravens are allowing their opponents to gain 91.8 rushing yards per game, and have allowed nine rushing touchdowns this season. It would benefit the Dolphins to run away from defensive end Calais Campbell, who has been a force against the run for years in the NFL.
Protect Miami’s quarterback better
Left tackle Liam Eichenberg, left guard Austin Jackson and right tackle Jesse Davis are tied for the NFL lead in pressures (37) allowed. They each are allowing 4.1 pressures per game, which explains why the Dolphins have allowed 47 more pressures than the second-worst NFL team. The amount of pressure Miami’s quarterbacks are under this season has forced the Dolphins to speed up the passing game, and limit the playbook. Tua Tagovailoa has mostly exceled when it comes to evading pressure, but Jacoby Brissett doesn’t, which explains why he’s been sacked 16 times in five games. The Ravens have produced 15 sacks this season, but what Miami’s offensive line is putting on film should motivate opponents to turn up the volume on their blitz packages.
Minimize Mark Andrews impact
Andrews, a former Oklahoma standout the Ravens selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft, has blossomed into a Pro Bowler who keeps the chains moving and scores touchdowns for Baltimore’s offense. He’s contributed 560 yards and three touchdowns on 42 receptions in the eight games he’s played, and only receiver Marquise Brown has been targeted more this season. Safety Eric Rowe has seemingly lost his starting job because of Brandon Jones’ emergence, but the one thing this team trusts Rowe to do is cover tight ends. So expect Rowe to be heavily involved in the game plan this week.
Win the turnover battle
The Dolphins feasted on turnovers last season, leading the league in that critical category by pulling down 18 interceptions. So far this season the Dolphins have only recorded six interceptions, but last week’s win over the Texans featured Houston committing four turnovers. If Miami can get that type of performance this week against Jackson, who has thrown seven interceptions, and the Ravens, who commit 1.2 turnovers per game, they have a chance to keep Thursday night’s game competitive. But the Dolphins, who average two turnovers per game, also have to take care of the football.