It's game day and that means it's time for Ravens101's key matchups to watch for, and today we will lay out our key matchups to watch for in today's game between the 3-1 Miami Dolphins and the visiting 2-2 Baltimore Ravens.
There are always several key matchups to watch for in every game, but we narrow that list down to five every game day for our readers. So let's take a look at today's key matchups.
Ravens Front Seven vs Dolphins Third Down offense
Today will present two of the best battling it out all game. Baltimore currently boasts the sixth (tied) best third down defense, while the Dolphins own the fifth best third down offense in regards to converting for a first down. The key here will be the ability of Baltimore's front seven to apply pressure on Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill and force him to make decisions quicker than he would like to.
Ravens Run Game vs Dolphins Run Defense
We have touched on it all week, so it should not come at any surprise that the struggling Ravens rushing attack would be involved in one of the key matchups for this game. Miami has a top ten rushing defense, while the Ravens running game ranks near the bottom of the NFL, but with an enhanced commitment to Ray Rice and the run game this week, Baltimore's ability to run the football will go a long ways in helping Joe Flacco and the passing game to take advantage of the poor pass defense of the Dolphins.
Depending on the status of Webb, who is listed as questionable right now, either he or Smith will likely be covering Miami's number one wide receiver in Wallace. We know from Wallace's time in Pittsburgh that he is a deep threat, but he can also go over the middle and has the height to reach up and grab the ball out of the air over the defender. Whether it's Webb or Smith, they will have to disrupt his routes, play physical and try to keep him from having an impact in the game. If Webb and Smith can do that, it should set up for a good day for the Ravens defense.
Ravens Offense vs First Quarter
The Ravens have averaged just 1.8 points per first quarter they have played so far this season and only three teams have a lower average in the entire league. Baltimore will have to find a way to get some points on the board early as they tend to find themselves having to play catch up, which puts even more strain on an already struggling offense. Even if it is just a fieldgoal, Baltimore will need to put some points on the board in the first quarter today.
John Harbaugh vs Rushing Inefficiency
Last week we saw the Ravens completely abandon the running game when it appeared that they were not going anywhere on the ground and to the point that Baltimore ran the ball just twice the entire second half and nine times total on the day. Harbaugh came out earlier this week and took responsibility for the abandonment of the running saying it was his decision to do so. This week, Harbaugh will have to fight the urge to do the same thing if Baltimore does not come out running the ball well early on. This Ravens offense will only be able to produce to its potential if it is at an almost 50/50 balance between running and passing and if you don't get Rice involved enough in the game you are wasting one of the best weapons in the game.
These are our key matchups to watch for in today's game, what about yours? Let your voice be heard by posting a comment!
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