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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week

Prediction: BAL 14, MIA 20

Update: Demetrius Williams was held out of practice on Wednesday and then limited the rest of the week because of his ankle. I am lowering his projections slightly.

This should be an interesting game since it pits the Ravens "who maybe are not that good" against the Dolphins "who maybe are not that bad". So far the Ravens are 0-2 on the road while the Dolphins are just 1-1 at home. The Ravens defense keeps this one low scoring and the Ravens offense keeps them behind.

Baltimore Ravens (2-3)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CIN 17-10 +1 39
2 BYE - - -
3 CLE 28-10 -2 38.5
4 @PIT 20-23 +6 34.5
5 TEN 10-17 +3 35
6 @IND 3-31 +4.5 39
7 @MIA - +3 36.5
8 OAK - - -
9 @CLE - - -
10 @HOU - - -
11 @NYG - - -
12 PHI - - -
13 @CIN - - -
14 WAS - - -
15 PIT - - -
16 @DAL - - -
17 JAX - - -
BAL at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     170,1
RB Willis McGahee 50 10  
RB Le'Ron McClain 30,1 10  
TE Todd Heap   20  
WR Mark Clayton   20  
WR Demetrius Williams   30  
WR Derrick Mason   60,1  
PK Matt Stover   2 XP  

Pregame Notes: A nice subtext to this game is that the Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron gets to face his former team that fired him after a 1-15 season. The desire for revenge though may not be enough since the Ravens offense does not have the means to inflict damage. The defense has been good up until Manning tore them up last week because of injuries to the secondary and it is on the road for a second week. In the brutal schedule hoisted on them this year, four of the next five games are on the road so the lack of offense will continue to haunt this team that appeared to be on the right track after beating up the visiting Bengals and Browns to start the season.

Quarterback: The Ravens have been getting worse each week during this three game losing streak and that all ties back to the offense that cannot move the ball. The rookie Joe Flacco still has only one passing touchdown on the season and that was five games ago. He has been stuck around 150 passing yards each week recently and yet has seven interceptions. He's going through his learning curve to be sure but isn't changing the scoreboard along the way.

Running Backs: The rushing attack was abandoned last week when the Colts started pouring on the points and the Ravens went to passing formations that made more use of Willis McGahee and Ray Rice and left Le'Ron McClain on the sideline for most of the game. That could happen again in the same situation but the Ravens prefer the familiar package of McGahee and McClain each game. There has been no changes to the depth charts here, only a game situation that dictated other offensive packages be used. Rice did not gain any yards in either of the two previous games and that should be more of the norm for this year.

That throws a little doubt on top of this is that the Ravens have four more road games over the next five weeks. Most are not against top teams but then again the Colts had been lackluster this year until last Sunday.

Wide Receivers: This remains one of the most unproductive units in the NFL that has yet to score a touchdown. Only three wideouts have caught a pass for the Ravens this year but only twice has any individual here had more than 53 yards in a game. Mason has improved in recent weeks but still remains unworthy of being a fantasy starter. Demetrius Williams and Mark Clayton rarely manage even 40 yards in any week.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap comes off a season high game but that only meant four catches for 41 yards which was almost exactly the sum of his four previous games. No fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: The Dolphins rushing defense has been top notch this year and that hits the Ravens in the only place they can succeed. Since week one, no runner has gained more than 58 rushing yards against the Dolphins and only one has scored. This will be a tough one for both McGahee and McClain but figure on one short touchdown plunge that must favor McClain.

If Flacco is going to get his second career passing score it would have to be against one of the worst secondaries in the league. That should favor Mason the most but it could end up with any wideout.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 31 10 27 28 30 15
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIA 28 2 32 7 7 4

Miami Dolphins (2-3)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 14-20 +3 36
2 @ARZ 10-31 +7 38.5
3 @NE 38-13 +13 34.5
4 BYE - - -
5 SD 17-10 +6.5 45.5
6 @HOU 28-29 +3 45
7 BAL - -3 36.5
8 BUF - - -
9 @DEN - - -
10 SEA - - -
11 OAK - - -
12 NE - - -
13 @STL - - -
14 @BUF - - -
15 SF - - -
16 @KC - - -
17 @NYJ - - -
MIA vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington     190,1
RB Ronnie Brown 50,1 20  
RB Ricky Williams 40 20  
TE Anthony Fasano   30  
WR Davone Bess   20  
WR Greg Camarillo   50  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   50,1  
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: There is no arguing that the Dolphins have had a dramatic turnaround and even their loss in Houston could have gone the other way all too easily. The defense has played far better and the offense is coming into shape thanks to a great rushing attack and Chad Pennington at the helm. Sort of makes you wonder what this team would have been like if Favre never went to New York and freed up Pennington.

Quarterback: Chad Pennington comes off his best game of the year when he passed for 284 yards and two scores in Houston but that was only slightly better than when the Jets opened the season in Miami. Pennington has passed for no less than 228 yards in the two home games this year and always scored at least once. The Ravens bring in a good defense but Manning had his way with them last week thanks to a few inopportune injuries in the secondary.

Running Backs: Patrick Cobbs comes off a career best game - heck it pretty much has been his entire career in one game - when he had three catches for 138 yards and two scores in Houston. He only had two other catches for 14 yards this season. What the Houston game did though was to bring Ricky Williams back to equal time with Ronnie Brown who actually lagged badly until getting yards and a score at the end of the game. Brown remains the primary here and has scored in each of the last four games but Williams still has a role. He has always had ten or more carries every week. Other than the 24 carry game against the Chargers, the duo have almost exactly split carries each week.

Wide Receivers: The Dolphins wideouts have been in transition this season and both Derek Hagen and Ernest Wilford had been starters who now are inactive for games. They have been passed on the depth chart by Greg Camarillo and Davone Bess. Camarillo has evolved into the possession receiver in this offense and has at least four catches in each game for the last month. He also has the only receiving touchdown caught by a Miami wide receiver this year. Regardless of who plays what, they are not offering enough production to warrant being a fantasy starter. The best game so far has been only 68 yards.

Tight Ends: Fantasy owners who thought the grabbed a tight end stuff from the waiver wire have been disappointed that Anthony Fasano's two game explosion to start the year has trickled down to just one catch for 12 yards last week. Both he and David Martin are used each week and prevent one of them from having fantasy relevance.

Match Against the Defense: The vaunted rushing game of the Dolphins currently ranks #1 in the NFL, just like the defense against running backs of the Ravens. #1 goes against #1. This is where having a passing game would have been nice. The Ravens have been dominating against the run and the Fins are going to split up carries. There is a chance for one score that would favor Brown more but the yardage should be lagging this week.

Pennington faces a defense that had been tops against the pass but Manning's 271 yards and three scores last week ruined that for now. I like one passing score in this game that has to favor the speedy Ginn though Camarillo is usually the more heavily used player. The Ravens are still trying to get injured defenders back but the Dolphins are not going to throw any more than they need to anyway.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 16 1 29 2 31 22
Preventing Fantasy Points    BAL 4 1 6 13 11 29

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~ 2008 ~
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