Ravenous for Thursday Football
The week 7 scaries came and took some of our units last week but we shook ‘em off and are back to building the bank roll back up. It starts tonight with the Baltimore Ravens (-3) which falls into the GreenZone for 5.9 units.
Traditionally, we have not had the best relationship with the Ravens. They really boned us in London as well as countless times last year. These are two of the worst offensive units in the NFL, and something tells us that playing on a very short week is not going to improve efficiency on either side. While Matt Moore did play well enough last week against the Jets, it is still hard to believe the Dolphins would have gone out and signed Cutler if they truly trusted him as the man who should be leading this squad. Sure, he has had some success in fill in roles in the past, the sample size is just not enough for us to really trust.
There will no doubt be a great deal of punting in this one, so there will most likely be a few plays that swing it in the Ravens favor. For starters, the Dolphins have the worst 3rd down conversion rate in the NFL, while the Ravens are in the top 5 on defense on 3rd down. When it’s a race to 20 points, the inability to extend drives tends to be devastating. Not to mention, when those punts do happen, the Ravens should benefit, as they may have the league’s best special team’s unit. As long as the Ravens can improve on their dismal run defense, this game will most likely be won with the hidden yardage they are able to gain getting 3rd down stops, return yardage, and covering kicks.
The hidden yardage and special teams execution will be crucial, but the turnover battle may also be a deciding factor. These Thursday night games tend to be more sloppy than when the teams have a full week of preparation and as we all know, turnovers can single handily decide the outcome of a game if they are excessive. The Dolphins currently rank in the bottom-10 of the NFL, having given the ball away 8 times and only forced 6 for a differential of -2. The Ravens come into the game 9th in the league, powered by their 15 forced turnovers that are good for second in the league. Turnovers are hard to predict in a single game, but you have to like a back-up QB with a short week of preparation going against the team that has forced the 2nd most turnovers in the NFL.