AFC Game Of The Week
Miami Dolphins (7-4) at Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
Dolphins: At one point, this team was 1-4 and they looked to be out of it once again. Let’s not always necessarily count a team out because football is a sport where anything can happen and any team can simply go on a winning streak and the Miami Dolphins are a perfect example of that. They’ve won six games in a row including two in California where they beat the Chargers and Rams and they sit in second place in the AFC East where many expected them to be in the basement of the division. So, what’s been the key to this winning streak? One, Tannehill is playing good football and he’s taking care of the ball, and two, Jay Ajayi has put together a monstrous season. He had back to back 200-yard rushing games at one point and three, the defense has played really well. Look back at what they did in San Diego a few weeks ago when they intercepted Rivers four times in San Diego. Even when points are scored on them, they still make a play to seal the deal and hold a lead. Six is the number of wins they have in a row and as of now, they are the sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture and they’d play these Ravens in January.
Ravens: I had them making the playoffs this year if everyone could remain healthy and the defense could improve. The defense has regained its swagger and we knew it would take a few years for them to get back to the elite category after Ray retired and they lost a few pieces. From my perspective, their issues have been their offense and how consistently inconsistent they’ve been. They can move the ball down the field but will sometimes struggle to score in the red zone and it results in them ending up with three points instead. For them to be taken seriously, I need to see Joe Flacco take control of the game and get another receiver not named Steve Smith involved. What Joe Flacco will we see? He’s more than capable of taking matters into his own hands, look at the year when they won the Super Bowl and how well he played in the playoffs that year. This is one of the biggest games of the season for them because not only does it affect their lead in the division, this also will say a lot about the Wild Card race. They could be in first place or on the outside looking in by the end of the day Sunday.
Dolphins Player To Watch: Ryan Tannehill– The Ravens have a great run defense which will more than likely force Tannehill to step it up. They’ll clamp down on stop Ajayi and make Tannehill take the game over. The Ravens secondary is much improved but on Sunday, I see him and his receivers having a nice day on the road.
Ravens Player To Watch: Kenneth Dixon– After the Ray Rice drama, it’s been a running back by committee type of thing for Harbaugh and the Ravens. Forsett wasn’t bad at all and I was surprised they released him but there is always a reason behind something. Some execs around the league have said that Dixon is the best running back the Ravens have put on the field since Ray Rice. He’s your typical back that can run it but can also catch it which is a good thing.
Prediction: With December football here, what’s a better way to start it than an AFC battle for positioning in the playoff picture. I’m not sure what Ravens offense will show up and the Dolphins have played well as of late. I like the Dolphins to get another big win on the road. Dolphins 20 Ravens 16