BIG PLAYS

A Very Dolphins vs. Ravens Preview

The Dolphins have a history of getting manhandled by the physical play of the Ravens. It’s not shaping up to be any different this season either.

Photo Courtesy of Inverse

I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’m going to be able to keep up with this Dolphin’s team. With all the releases and trades that they are doing every day, coupled with the fact they’re still the Dolphins, which means ridiculous, completely avoidable situations will be occurring throughout the year. I’m not sure that even my strong as hell heart will be able to take it. But, I’m a blogger (when I’m not a functioning member of society doing the real work) so I know that I have the heart of at least a couple of lions. The NFL season moves on and I shall move with it.

Right off the bat, is this not the sexiest opening day depth chart you’ve ever laid eyes on?

I have no idea how you can look at this roster and not immediately think of this.

The truth is, I planned on writing a blog comparing the Dolphins and the Cleveland Indians from Major League are nearly one and the same. But, life comes at you fast and I simply didn’t have the time.

The other truth is, this Dolphin’s roster was made to look like this. This wasn’t an accident. This was the plan from the start. Call it whatever you’d like that makes you feel better. If you live in a fantasy world, you can call it rebuilding and believe that the organization is still trying to win this year. If you decide to take the red pill, then you know this season is a tank job starting at the top and ending somewhere before the players. Understand, the administration is looking to lose as much as possible. That doesn’t mean the players and coaches aren’t going to do everything they can to win every game. It’s just that the players aren’t probably good enough to win. That’s it. That’s what’s happening here any thought otherwise is futile because it just ain’t true.

With that all out of the way, we’re on to Baltimore and let me tell you, there isn’t a worse opponent in the league for this particular Dolphins team to open up with. The Dolphins don’t just have a terrible track record against the Ravens, they barely have a marginal track record against them. They don’t just lose, they get absolutely ran over and bludgeoned. In the last eight matchups of these teams, the Ravens have outscored the Dolphins 225-89 and the Dolphins have managed to only win one of these games.

It’s not like the Ravens have ever been known as an offensive juggernaut either. It’s that both of Raven’s lines physically abuse the Dolphin’s lines. They actually manhandle and discard the Dolphins as if they’re their little brother playing ball in the backyard. Somehow the Dolphins always have the Ravens on the schedule and each year I pencil that in as a loss. You can pretty much set your watch to it. The Dolphins can hang and beat the Patriots, who continually win the championship, but can’t be only down seven in the third quarter against Baltimore. It’s just a bad matchup for Miami.

But, we’ve seen the Dolphins, even recently, be able to put it together against a perceived physical team. Last year the Dolphins defeated the vaunted Bears and their really tough defense with the Brocketship at the helm. So it is possible.

If the upset is going to happen, Fitzmagic is going to have to be sprinkled all over the place. I’m talking Tecmo style full-length TD passes, holy rollers wrapped inside immaculate receptions inside Miami Miracles type stuff is going to need to happen.

Fitzpatrick will come out firing on all cylinders because he has a record floating out there of becoming the first guy to throw a touchdown pass for eight different teams. I’m sure it’s a big one for him, so I won’t be too surprised to see him going to the endzone early and often.

One thing we’re being told, and take this with a Canada sized grain of salt because it is coming from the head coach. I personally don’t much believe head coaches when they say anything. As a Dolphin’s fan, I think y’all can understand that.

It would be great if Drake got more touches. As a fanbase, that’s exactly what we’ve pined for years. It would also be great if Flores is true to his word about getting Drake more touches. Will that happen? I don’t know. As a Dolphin’s fan, I take the Red from Shawshank Redemption approach and not get my hopes up. We’ll see Kalen Ballage as well and my guess is whoever has the hot hand in the first half will get more carries going forward.

According to the depth chart, undrafted rookie and potential savior for many, Preston Williams will be starting opposite of DeVante Parker. I actually like that a lot. Two huge guys, with speed on the outside with Wilson and Grant operating in the middle, is a formidable receiver unit. This might be the strongest unit on the squad, but the bar is way low at this point.

#FreeGesicki, that’s all I have to say about that.

Obviously, it all starts up front. This is where I believe the Dolphins will get their doors blown off. Starting two rookies and a guy who has only been here for 10 days or so is no way to go through life, but that’exactly what the brain trust in Miami feels is the right way to go. Is it possible that they band together and decide to shock all the doubters? Sure, it’s just not likely at all and that’s the point of the season.

Defensively, the new looking Flores defense will be shown in all it’s talked about glory. Rookie Christain Wilkins and Davon Godchaux will play the middle of the line and I’m fairly excited to see them play. Wilkins looked good in the preseason and Godchaux, who somehow didn’t get cut, has shown solid promise in the past.

The linebackers are also intriguing with Jerome Baker, hybrid DE/LB Charles Harris and the Candian strong man Sam Eguaveon. This unit could end up being a sneaky candidate for the best unit on the team when the year is over, but they have a lot to prove mainly not jumping into areas that aren’t their responsibility. Baker seems like he’s ascending, so keep an eye on that and Harris did have a few moments in the preseason. The fact that he wasn’t cut tells me that Flores thinks he’s good for his system. It would be a lot cooler if he was.

In the secondary, we know Xavien Howard will be fine and will be doing his thing. I wouldn’t expect too many passes to go his way. Eric Rowe, on the other hand, should have a good amount of work coming his way. I’m interested to see how Reshad Jones looks out there. With all the madness going on, he was a guy who sort of fell between the cracks when it came to having his name mentioned at all. He’s healthy, so you’d like to think that’ll be ready to go but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have doubts about him. We all know, including him, that he won’t be here next year so seeing how he responds to that will be interesting. It would be dumb to pull any weird stuff like taking yourself out of a game during a year where you’re auditioning for other teams. At least I think that’d be weird.

We all know that Baltimore is going to try and run the ball, and then they’re going to try and run the ball some more. They’ve made no secret that they’re not just going to run the ball with conventional running backs, but that they’re going to run Lamar Jackson into the ground. Ordinarily, I’d be fine with that, but with so many question marks about this defense, I think it’s very possible that Miami won’t just bend but break like Chris Jericho breaking the walls down.

Prediction- I can’t truthfully give a prediction about a Dolphins and Ravens game without taking into account that the Dolphins, traditionally, get smashed by Baltimore regularly. It’s the home opener and the fans that are there will be jazzed, the atmosphere will be awesome and the Grimes’ family will be cursing folks out. I’ve seen too many games where Miami gets stomped and it’s all over with about six minutes left in the second quarter. This a Ravens team that won their division last year. Even though I don’t expect them to do that again, one thing they always are is physical.

Regardless of who is on the defense, they always cause problems. They always get turnovers or get special teams plays to go their way. Maybe the Dolphins come out red hot and put points up in the first half, something they don’t usually do. I think the Dolphins move the ball early, but find themselves in too many third and longs and won’t be able to handle the pass rush of the Ravens. Miami doesn’t have that many quality starters, let alone backups, so Baltimore winning by attrition will be a theme for not just this game but many of the games Miami plays this year.

Final Score- Dolphins 10, Ravens 31

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