Miami Dolphins vs Baltimore Ravens Notes and Predictions.
- Date: Sunday, September 8th, 2019
- Time: 1:00 P.M. EST
- Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
- Series Record: Baltimore leads 9-6 (Including Playoffs)
- Last Meeting: October 26th, 2017. Baltimore won 40-0
Miami Dolphins Outlook:
Season Record Prediction: 2-14
Jerome Baker, LB:
I am very high on Jerome Baker and what he can bring to this new look defense in his second with the team. His athletic ability is off the charts. His versatility is something that new head coach Brian Flores lives for. Baker’s role looks to increase with this new defensive scheme Flores has brought in. Flores loves to disguise blitzes and mix up pressure from different spots on the field. Baker is expected to be on the field for all 3 downs and lead this group this season. In my opinion, he’s primed to make a jump and could be a dark horse for a Pro-Bowl nod at the end of the year.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB:
Minkah Fitzpatrick, like Jerome Baker, also comes into his second season as a Miami Dolphin. He is also a player who does not lack versatility. With the recent purge of the roster, getting rid of bad contracts and players who weren’t scheme fits, Fitzpatrick and Baker look to fit right in. Fitzpatrick played all over the field at his time at Alabama, so moving around should not be a problem for him. He has stated however that he feels playing mostly strong safety isn’t his strongest spot, but he’s a player who is willing to help the team wherever he is needed. Expect to see Fitzpatrick in a variety of positions in the back seven of the defense this season.
Xavian Howard, CB:
After the recent trade of Laremy Tunsil, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Xavian Howard is the best player the Miami Dolphins have on the roster. They obviously appreciate him after rewarding him with a 5-year, $76.5 Million extension with $46 Million guaranteed, effectively resetting the market for top tier cornerbacks. There’s no doubt Howard is a top-10 cornerback in the NFL, being tied with the league lead in interceptions last season with 7 in total. Brian Flores and the New England Patriots ran more man-to-man coverage last year than any team. With Howard’s ability and established spot on this defense, he’ll be looking to be more of a problem for opposing quarterbacks for years to come.
How the Dolphins can win:
First, let’s face the facts. The Miami Dolphins don’t have much talent in this roster. They have effectively punted on this season as far as wins are concerned. This season is about evaluation and development. However, there are a few things the Dolphins could do to swing things in their favor. They will need to control the ball and time of possession. Keeping Lamar Jackson and his speed of the field is priority. They will need Ryan Fitzpatrick to have one of his signature “Fitz-Magic” games and make big plays on this stout Ravens defense. Lastly, but most importantly, they’ll need to shut down Jackson, Mark Ingram and that Ravens rushing attack. I believe if they can do these things, all of them, they can go home that evening with a stunning victory.
Baltimore Ravens Outlook:
Season Record Prediction: 10-6
Lamar Jackson, QB:
Lamar Jackson has become a polarizing player in just his second year in the league. Many believed he should switch to wide-receiver before the NFL Draft. (Cough, cough, Bill Polian). However, like it or not, Lamar Jackson was a really good rookie quarterback last season. Greg Roman, the offensive coordinator for the Ravens, knows how to scheme an offense for the mobile QB. He was the offensive coordinator in San Francisco when Colin Kaepernick shot to stardom. He’s not afraid to let his QB play to his strengths. Jackson does need to improve on keeping his eyes downfield and avoid looking for the run longer. He’s the type of player who can break a game wide-open and with another offseason under his belt to learn and develop, this could be a Star season for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
Earl Thomas, FS:
Free Safety Earl Thomas is widely regarded as one of the best of his generation. There’s an argument to be made he’s one of the best of all-time. His intelligence, experience, and nose for the football allow him to always be in the right place at the right time. He was an key part of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” defense during their Super Bowl runs. He was a stand-out All-American at the University of Texas. Everywhere he goes, Earl Thomas performs. This is a Ravens defense coming off a dominating 2018 campaign. Yes, they lost Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle and Z’Darius Smith. Thomas will replace Weddle. There is no replacing a player like Terrell Suggs, but this Ravens defensive back group is legit. Adding an elite talent like Thomas to that group, as long as he can stay healthy, will keep the Ravens defense at the top of the league.
Mark Ingram II, RB:
Another familiar face added to this Baltimore Ravens team. This time it’s on the Offensive side of the ball. Mark Ingram will bring leadership and toughness to this running back group. Pairing his rushing attack with Lamar Jackson and Justice Hill, recently drafted from Oklahoma State, the Ravens look to control the ball in 2019. The threat of the rushing attack should open up the passing game for Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin as well. Both young, talented wide-receivers were drafted this past April as well. If Ingram can carry over his success from New Orleans and stay a threat in the backfield, this team should be helped out all over the place.
How the Baltimore Ravens can win:
Run, Lamar, Run. As I stated before, Lamar Jackson can break open a defense quicker than almost any player in the league. He will need to limit his mistakes and take shots down field to keep the defense honest. It’s not hard to imagine the Dolphins loading the box against him and forcing him to throw. If Lamar can stay mobile but also give the threat of passing downfield accurately, it could get dangerous. On the defensive side of the ball it’s relatively simple, get pressure on this weak Dolphins offensive line and make the day as long as possible for Ryan Fitzpatrick and company. This top of the line Ravens defense shut out the Phins the last time they played, and barring some miscommunication and blown assignments, they could look to do that again this Sunday at 1 o’clock.