What will it take for the Ravens to win their Week Three matchup against the Miami Dolphins?
The Ravens will be hosting the Miami Dolphins for their 2022 home opener. Many Baltimore fans, myself included, want this game back. Not to negatively reminisce, but the 22-10 beatdown the Dolphins gave Baltimore in Miami last season still stings. Miami exposed the Ravens’ offense by running a Cover-0 defense a staggering 39 times, which Greg Roman did not counter once with coaching adjustments.
The Ravens Must Mitigate Miami’s Defensive Speed
Last year, the Miami defense was smothering. Jevon Holland, Miami’s young rising-star safety, caused havoc all game long. Assisting Holland on the defensive onslaught were interior lineman Christian Wilkins and star cornerback Xavien Howard. At the time of their last meeting, Baltimore was 6-3 and Miami was 3-7 and reeling. Even with the Ravens being banged up due to mounting injuries, this was an all but certain Baltimore victory. Lamar Jackson was in the early frontrunner position for his second MVP award.
Miami will certainly be ready to replicate their success against Baltimore this Sunday. The Dolphins’ defense will be led by Howard, Holland, and company with the addition of pass rushers Melvin Ingram and Emmanuel Ogbah. The Baltimore offensive line will have their hands full trying to nullify the speed and power of the front seven of the Dolphins. All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley is expected to miss the game.
To counter the speed and aggression, the Ravens will have to resort to old tactics to pull out the win. To be quite frank, they need to game plan for Miami the way they did in 2019. Play bully-ball with the combination of Kenyan Drake and Mike Davis. Running back J.K. Dobbins is a game-time decision as of this writing.
Having the prospect of Dobbins, Drake, and Davis is much more promising than last year’s duo of LeVeon Bell and Devonta Freeman. Look for Baltimore to establish the run game early and force Miami to stack the box which will open up passing lanes for Lamar Jackson. Expect to see more screenplays run as well.
The Ravens Must Make Miami One Dimensional On Offense
In the Dolphins 2022 opener against New England, the game was won with solid defense and above-average passing efficiency from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He was 23/33 for 270 yards and a touchdown. Tyreek Hill, Tua’s newest target, hauled in eight catches for 94 yards. Second-year wideout Jaylen Waddle recorded 69 yards on four catches and scored the lone passing touchdown.
As impressive as the passing game was for the Dolphins, the running game left a lot to be desired. New running back duo Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert had a combined 41 yards on 17 carries, averaging just under 2.5 yards per rush. Baltimore will need to shut down the passing game and force the Dolphins to beat them on the ground.
When Baltimore drafted Kyle Hamilton, Jayln Armour-Davis, and Pepe Williams and signed free safety Marcus Williams many fans were excited about the potential of the secondary. These four defensive backs were brought in for this reason. To counter the stockpiling of passing weapons across the AFC landscape. Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey, Chuck Clark, and the aforementioned additions will be the difference between the week two meeting and the 2021 meeting between Baltimore and Miami. Currently, the Ravens have the pieces to contain the Miami passing game.
Expect Baltimore’s front seven to continue their stout play upfront. The Michael Pierce-led defensive line should have little issues with the Miami offensive line on the run-blocking side. If the secondary holds up on the back end of the defense, it will be a long day for Miami.
Ravens QB Lamar Jackson Must Dictate The Pace Of The Game
Last year, Miami had Lamar Jackson flustered and confused by stacking the line of scrimmage. Running a Cover-0 defense left the signal caller baffled at times and resulted in Jackson’s worst performance of his injury-shortened 2021 campaign. To emerge victorious, Jackson will have to recognize the defenses coming his way and make the necessary adjustments.
We know Miami will ”throw the kitchen sink” at Lamar Jackson early and often. With just under a year to fully digest the game film and formulate a solid game plan, Greg Roman will have to dial up short slants and quick-pop passes outside the hash marks to take advantage of the aggressive Miami defense. Once Jackson makes the defense pay for its over-aggression, they will have to remain honest and this is where Lamar will dictate the pace of the game. He will be able to exploit the zone defense with Andrews and Likely while having room to operate freely in his RPO offense.
As I predicted in my Flock The North Podcast with Stadium Rant Dolphins writer Jonathan Cecil, I don’t expect this to be a blowout game but Baltimore will win this one 27-24.