The Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins will face off in this week’s Thursday Night Football showdown. Barring any unexpected miracles, Dolphins fans better prepare to settle in for a long night.
The Ravens enter this week’s match-up with a 6-2 record and are still energized coming off a fantastic overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings, 34-31. The Ravens started the second half at a 24-10 deficit and ruthlessly fought their way back. Their starting quarterback, Lamar Jackson, has led the Ravens to four fourth-quarter comeback wins out of the eight games that they have played this season.
In the game against the Vikings, Jackson completed 27-of-41 passes for 266 yards and a 65.9% completion rate. Despite two interceptions in the game, Jackson had three touchdowns and rushed 21 times for 120 yards—the most rushing yards by a quarterback in any game all season. Jackson is the best rushing quarterback in the league this season. While he has struggled somewhat with turnovers, throwing seven interceptions and fumbling five times (losing three), he has also thrown 13 touchdowns and accounted for 2,209 passing yards.
The Dolphins are also coming into this game hot off a win against the Houston Texans. Their victory marked only their second win of the season and put an end to their embarrassing seven-game losing streak. Miami has been, in a word, disastrous—starting with the quarterback situation.
Tua Tagovailoa, the second-year rookie from Alabama, has struggled with injury all season despite only being nine games in. Tagovailoa missed three games due to a persistent rib injury and most recently missed the games against the Texans due to a fractured finger. Backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett took his place and was able to squeak out an average performance. He completed 26-of-43 passes (60.5%) for 244 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. As of now, it will be a game-time decision regarding Tagovailoa’s status.
The next issue for Miami is their defense—or lack thereof. Altogether, the defense has given up a total of 3,527 yards, 999 rushing and 2,528 passing yards. When going against a quarterback as explosive as Jackson in the rushing and passing game, this could be deadly for Miami. The Dolphins’ defense is composed mainly around four key players: cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, and linebacker Jerome Baker. In order to shut down Jackson, these three players, among others, will have to have their best games of the season.
From an offensive perspective, Miami has talent, they just need to utilize it. Tight end Mike Gesicki is a bright spot on the offense. Gesicki ranks third among all tight ends in the NFL with 44 receptions and ranks fourth in the league with 529 receiving yards. Targeting Gesicki is going to be important for Miami to survive this matchup. Rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, who holds 56 receptions currently, has been having a great season with the Dolphins. This past weekend against the Texans, Waddle led the team with eight catches for 83 yards. The game also marked his third game this season with at least eight receptions.
The Dolphins are in for a battle on Thursday night.