MIAMI DOLPHINS (4-2)
at BALTIMORE RAVENS (3-4)
M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore, MD
Kickoff: Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET
Line: Baltimore -3.5, Total: 37.5
The Dolphins will be hoping to improve to a surprising 5-2 with a win over the Ravens on Thursday.
The Dolphins looked like one of the worst teams in football after losing 20-0 against the Saints in their third game of the season. Miami was 1-2 after that game and had recently lost 20-6 against the Jets as well. The Dolphins have, however, turned their season around in a big way. Miami has won three straight games heading into this one, and the team is 2-0-1 ATS in those three contests. One of those victories was on the road against the Falcons, so it’s not like they’re facing only lousy teams. The Ravens, meanwhile, have now lost four of their past five games after losing 24-16 as a five-point underdog against the Vikings last week. Baltimore badly needs to win this game on Thursday, so expect this team to play with some intensity. The last time the Ravens hosted the Dolphins was on Dec. 4, 2015, when Baltimore won 38-6 as a three-point home favorite. The Ravens are now 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS when hosting the Dolphins since 1992, and Baltimore has also covered in two straight against Miami coming into this one. One trend that stands out when looking at this game is the fact that the Ravens are 15-4 ATS after failing to cover in four or five of their previous six games under head coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh is, however, also a lousy 12-22 ATS in October games with Baltimore.
The Dolphins lost starting quarterback Jay Cutler to a rib injury last game, but luckily backup Matt Moore is every bit as good as him. Moore was the reason the Dolphins were able to pull off a ridiculous comeback victory over the Jets last week, as he threw for 188 yards with two touchdowns and only one pick after Cutler went down. Miami had no problems moving the ball with him out there and should be able to find some success against Baltimore on Thursday. It helps Moore that WR Jarvis Landry is playing at an extremely high level this season. Landry had seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown against the Jets last week and now has three scores on the year. He has never had more than five in a season, so you can expect him to top that number this year. Look for him to potentially find the endzone in this game as well, as the Ravens do not have that great of a defense this year. Miami must, however, run the football a bit better than usual in this one. The Ravens have struggled to stop the run this year, so RB Jay Ajayi should be able to break out in this one. He has not yet rushed for a touchdown, but that could change shortly.
The Ravens need a victory on Thursday or the team runs the risk of falling far too behind in the playoff race. Baltimore does not want to be 3-5, as the team has a number of tough games coming up. That means that the Ravens will need to be a lot better on both sides of the football in this one. QB Joe Flacco is the guy that must really step his game up on Thursday, as the veteran has thrown for just 1,189 yards with five touchdowns and a pathetic eight picks. He is not taking care of the football this year and he has also struggled to manufacture any sort of momentum on offense. It doesn’t help Flacco that Baltimore really doesn’t have any consistency in the running game, but there is no reason that the 32-year-old should be playing this poorly. He has won a Super Bowl and has played at a very high level before, so it’s a little surprising to see him performing like one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. As for this defense, stopping the run would be a start. Baltimore has not yet done that this season, but that would really help against a mediocre Miami offense.