Ravens at Dolphins: 3 matchups to watch

Ravens at Dolphins: 3 matchups to watch
October 5, 2013, 10:45 am
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What is the Ravens' biggest offensive issue?

Ravens at Dolphins, three matchups to watch

1. Ravens NT Haloti Ngata vs. Dolphins center Mike Pouncey

Ngata and Pouncey are among the best at their respective positions. The Bills gashed the Ravens for 203 yards rushing in Week 4. If the Dolphins run the football effectively, it will take pressure off quarterback Ryan Tannehill and increase the Ravens’ chances of winning.

If Tannehill can avoid obvious passing situations, it will be easier for him to avoid the Ravens’ pass rush.

“Third-and-two, third-and-three - hard to turn those guys loose off the edge because it could be a run,” said Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees. “The playbook is open for the offense in that situation. Third-and-eight is a whole different deal.”

The Ravens have talked all week about doing a better job against the run. To accomplish that, Ngata will have to win battles in the trenches against Pouncey.

2. Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace vs. the Ravens’ secondarry 

Wallace (15 catches, 176 yards, one touchdown) has been a disappointment so far during his four-game stint with the Dolphins. However, his speed makes him a threat to score at any time. The Ravens’ secondary has had some communication issues that have led to blown coverage and big plays. If that happens against Wallace, it could mean a quick six.

3. Dolphins offensive tackles Tyson Clabo and Jonathan Martin vs. Ravens linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs

Both teams in this game are having offensive line problems. While the Ravens have struggled to run the football, the Dolphins’ main issue has been pass protection. Tannehill has been sacked 18 times, more than any quarterback in the NFL. Suggs has a sack in every game, and is playing extremely well. Dumervil comes into this game hungry, without a sack in two weeks. With the Ravens struggling on offense, they may need their defense to carry them to victory.  If Suggs and Dumervil have their way, the entire Ravens’ defense may have its way.