Miami Dolphins (4-2 SU, 3-2-1 ATS, 1-6 O/U) at Baltimore Ravens (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS, 4-3 O/U)
When and Where: Thursday, Oct. 26, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md., 8:25pmET
Line: Baltimore -3.5
Don’t look now, but the Miami Dolphins are fighting for first place in the AFC East. After an improbable 20-17 road win over Atlanta, where they came back from being down 17-0, the Fins did it again. This time, Miami was down 28-14 at home against the New York Jets and found a way to win, 31-28, thanks to the heroics of backup quarterback Matt Moore. Baltimore is trying to find a healthy wide receiver after losing at Minnesota, 24-16.
Moore back in the saddle
Some Miami fans wondered why Jay Cutler was brought in the first place after Ryan Tannehill went down with a torn ACL in the preseason. Of course, the relationship with head coach Adam Gase (back in Chicago) was the reason but Cutler is not known for his consistency. The 34-year old veteran has 995 yards passing with seven TDs and five picks (78.8 QB rating). After injuring his ribs against the Jets, in steps 33-year old backup Matt Moore and he brings the Dolphins back from a 28-14 deficit in the fourth quarter with two touchdown passes to Kenny Stills. Thanks to an ill-advised Josh McCown pass with the game tied at 28-28 (picked off by Bobby McCain), Miami won the game on a Cody Pankey 39-yard field goal with 22 seconds left.
Cutler wasn’t bad before he got injured, completing 12 of 16 for 138 yards with two TDs and one pick. Moore though outplayed him, throwing for 188 yards with two TDs and a pick. Both needed to throw, considering RB Jay Ajayi was held to 51 yards on 23 attempts. Ajayi has 442 yards rushing on the season, while Jarvis Landry leads in receiving with 365 yards. Miami ranks 32nd in total offense in the league with 261.8 yards per game and 81.7 rushing yards (29th). Defensively, they’ve been solid, allowing just 308.2 yards per game (9th), 82.3 rushing yards (5th) and 18.7 points allowed per game (7th).
When you’re kicker is your best player…
Justin Tucker is Baltimore’s best weapon on offense. The problem with that statement is that Tucker is a kicker. When your kicker nails three field goals and you don’t score a touchdown until time expires, you are in trouble. The Ravens went into their road contest without their best possession receiver (Jeremy Maclin) and their best vertical weapon Mike Wallace dealing with a back injury. To make matters worse, Wallace was knocked out of the game early on due to a concussion and Baltimore was left with three receivers. That didn’t help Joe Flacco’s case, who had little protection (five sacks) and no running game (64 yards) against one of the league’s top rushing defenses. Flacco completed 27 of 39 for 186 yards with one TD and no picks, though most of the completions were of the short variety. Running back Buck Allen caught eight passes on check downs for 29 yards.
The defense brought back top defensive tackle Brandon Williams but still managed to struggle against the run. Minnesota had their own injury issues on the offensive line and at running back, but still managed to run for 169 yards on 33 carries. The Ravens now rank a pitiful 32nd in the league against the run, giving up 145.3 yards per game, though their pass defense is fine (189.3 yards). Offensively, they are terrible, averaging 18.3 points per game (23rd), and a paltry 157.4 yards passing per game (32nd).
- 12-3 ATS last 15 in Week 8.
- 8-3 ATS last 11 after an ATS win.
- 7-18-2 ATS last 27 in October.
- 5-14-2 ATS last 21 after a SU loss.
Baltimore has lost two straight at home and two straight overall. It’s hard to believe they are even favored in this game. Moore is a quality backup and a decent starter with Stills and Jarvis Landry at receiver. They don’t even need to throw that often against the Ravens’ run defense, with Ajayi likely to rush for over 100 yards. Even if Maclin (shoulder) returns, Wallace probably will be out with a concussion. That still gives the Ravens one of the worst group of receivers in the league.
Baltimore went over last week against Minnesota thanks to last-second touchdown pass to Chris Moore as time expired. Miami was 5-0 Under in their first five games before Moore led the Fins on their comeback trail. Hard to believe that this will be a shootout. Miami is 14-3 Under last 17 in Week 8, while Baltimore is 11-5 Under their last 16 home games.