Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dolphins-Ravens: Week 15 Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week fifteen matchup against the Baltimore Ravens:

Where: Dolphin Stadium
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

  • Miami: Out - LB Channing Crowder; Questionable - RB Jesse Chatman, RB Patrick Cobbs, DE Matt Roth; Probable - WR Marty Booker, T Vernon Carey, DT Vonnie Holliday, CB Michael Lehan, LB Joey Porter
  • Baltimore: Out - WR Demetrius Williams; Doubtful - CB Samari Rolle, S Gerome Sapp; Questionable - DT Justin Bannan, TE Todd Heap, LB Ray Lewis, DT Haloti Ngata, LB Terrell Suggs, TE Daniel Wilcox; Probable - C Mike Flynn, DT Kelly Gregg, RB Willis McGahee, T Jonathan Ogden, S Ed Reed, T Adam Terry
Positional Breakdown:



Running backs


Offensive line

Defensive line


Special teams


Overall Advantage

Keys to the Game:
  1. Stop the bleeding in run defense. It's pretty obvious that Baltimore should run all over Miami. The Ravens have a great RB in McGahee paired with a below average QB and they are facing the league's worst run defense. If they come out passing, they are idiots. To this end, Miami's run defense won't be good - that's a given, but they do need to be good enough to give the team a chance. Keep the Ravens from busting out huge runs. As long as the score can be kept close, the Phins will have a chance.
  2. Use the short-passing game in place of a consistent ground attack. The Ravens run defense is superb, and I doubt a banged up Chatman or healthy Samkon Gado will be able to run effectively against it. Instead, give Lorenzo Booker his most extensive playing time yet, and work the middle of the field with short safe passes to the backs and tight ends. This should substitute for a running game, while lulling the Ravens secondary to sleep before hammering them deep with Ted Ginn. The Ravens top CBs are hurt, so the opportunities will be there. Cleo Lemon needs to connect when he goes deep, though, which is no certain proposition.
  3. Pressure the QB, whoever it is. Whichever QB lines up under center for the Ravens, he's going to be inexperienced and liable to make big mistakes under pressure. Opposing QBs have had a lifetime to sit in the pocket and find their open receiver all season. The linebacking core is depleted, so much of this pressure is going to have to come from Jason Taylor. He must come ready to have a big day.
Key Players:
  • Miami: QB Cleo Lemon - the running game won't be reliable for Miami's offense, so it will be up to Lemon to make plays downfield. The chances will be there since both of the Ravens' starting CBs will be out, and their replacements have been giving up big plays. He will need to be extra careful to avoid Ed Reed, of course.
  • Baltimore: RB Willis McGahee - the Ravens would probably like to feed the ball to McGahee on every single play, and they very well might do that against this awful run defense. His ability to punch the ball into the end zone will be key.
Like last week, this is a very winnable game for Miami, perhaps more winnable than the Bills game. I still can't honestly pick the Fins to win at this point, but I really would not be surprised if they pulled out this upset this week.

Ravens win 20-17.

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