Line: Dolphins -3

The 7-5 Ravens travel to Miami to take on the 7-5 Dolphins in what is a very important match up for both of these teams as they each try and remain in the playoff hunt. The Dolphins are coming off a 16-13 victory over the New York Jets. The win was much needed but does not give the Dolphins much confidence as quarterback Ryan Tannehill did not throw a touchdown for the first time all season and they were losing after 3 quarters. It took a furious 4th quarter rally to beat the 2-10 Jets. The Ravens lost a heartbreaker at home to the San Diego Chargers 35-34. They were leading 23-13 after 3 quarters but gave up 21 points in the 4th quarter and lost in the last minute of the game.

The Ravens defense has been vulnerable lately as over the past 2 weeks they have given up more then 800 passing yards. The defense also just learned it will be without starting defensive tackle Haloti Ngata who was suspended for performance enhancing drug use. Fortunately for the Ravens, the Dolphins rank last in the league with 1 touchdown pass of more then 20 yards. More good news for the Ravens is that they could be getting back starting cornerback Asa Jackson. Jackson is eligible after returning to practice after suffering a toe injury in week 6. Their offense has been better as Torrey Smith and Justin Forsett have been leading the way. Smith scored 4 touchdowns and has averaged 75 yards over the last 4 games. Forsett has been even better by averaging more then 130 yards and scoring 4 touchdowns the last 3 games.

The Dolphins defense has also been vulnerable recently with their last 2 opponents combining to rush for 478 yards. This could be a real problem as Forsett leads the league with an average of 5.6 yards per carry and is playing at an MVP type level. They will have to show major improvement in their run defense if they want to win this game. Their offense has been solid all year but took a step back last week, mustering only 16 points with Tannehill throwing more interceptions (1) then touchdowns (0). The Dolphins have not had a receiver catch more then 81 yards in a game all season. Tannehill has done a good job of spreading the ball around to many receivers but hasn’t been able to come up with a big threat.

The Dolphins haven’t been to the playoffs since 2008 while the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012. Experience matters and could be a factor as this game is very important for both teams. From the head coach on down, the Ravens have much more experience playing and coaching in “must-win” football games. These teams are evenly matched and it should be a close game. The Dolphins are going to have a very difficult time stopping the run, which will help the Ravens win the time of possession battle and ultimately the game.

Pick: Ravens +3

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