Week 13: Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins

Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins (-3.5)
Sun Life Stadium
Announcers: Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein

As the season has about come to a close, the Miami Dolphins welcome in the limping Baltimore Ravens in a battle of 4-7 teams. 

It has been another forehead slapping season in South Florida, as the Miami Dolphins all but sealed their fate with their 7th loss of the season and the 5th defeat in its many tries within the division.  While there are many things to complain about, one thing is certain:  The Dolphins are faced with ANOTHER rebuild after the coaching staff (Philbin, Lazor and Coyle) have all been released.  Dan Campbell is now coaching to at least give himself an interview for the HC spot once the season ends.  Bill Lazor was fired on Monday, after failing to establish a sound running game and to continue to the growth of Ryan Tannehill.  In steps QB coach Zac Taylor, who promises to give the reigns to
Tannehill with the ability to audible out of situations as he sees fit.  The last 5 games will also be telling for the front office and what to do with many key positions, that includes QBs.  I for one, am a big fan of Tannehill and believes he is the guy, but its becoming less apparent that he will be beyond next season.

Lets move on to this weeks game.  The Ravens come to town after pulling off a miraculous win over the Browns on Monday nights.  They will ride that momentum into south beach.  The biggest difference between these two franchises, is that the Ravens work of Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome has kept this team competitive, even with the losses of Terrell Suggs, Justin Forsett, Steve Smith and their franchise QB in Joe Flacco.  Miami could really use their blue print moving forward.  Here are the keys to this weeks game:

1)  Convert more third downs then what you lose- this has been a troublesome spot this season and it needs to change going forward.  Miami has dug themselves into holes each week, whether its not running the ball effectively or taking sacks or penalties, this team is in a hole seemingly every third down.  Taylor must get this team in third and manageable to convert these conversions.  It will build confidence and put the Ravens on their heels

2)  Devante Parker- Taylor needs to get the ball in his hands.  After a 4 catch, 80 yard performance in his first opportunity this season, he showed what made him the 14th pick overall.  Parker can do some damage, especially against one of the worst pass defenses in the league.

3)  Win the line of scrimmage- This goes for both OL and DL.  Both units have struggled all season to establish the run and protect the QB AND get after the QB and stop the run respectively.  If Suh jumped on his teammates last week and they get kicked around defensively.  This is the time to win the battles up front.  This should help lead to victory.  Conversely, Tannehill needs to be protected.  Far too many times he is getting tagged.  His durability has never been in question, but it can start if he keeps getting killed week in and week out.

4) RUN A HURRY UP OFFENSE- when Philbin and Lazor were here, they wanted to implement a hurry up, fast paced offense.  We have yet to see one, minus the 2 minute offense.  Taylor, who was with Tannehill in Texas A&M, where it was a fast paced system.  If Tannehill is getting more control of the offense, lets see if this gets implemented.  And the home field advantage of the heat, can become a factor in this game.  Does Taylor have the guts to run a hurry up?  We will see on Sunday

5)  Finish Drives- Another problem all season is the stall out inside opponent territory.  Miami needs to put up points on multiple drives to establish themselves as more dominant.  Even if its field goals, points matter.  Unfortunately, Miami is not putting up much.

At the end, this game comes down to who wins the battle up front.  Baltimore, even though they struggle, has shown they can get after the QB and protect theirs.  This will be the deciding factor.

Ravens 21- Dolphins 17