The Baltimore Ravens (2-2) are heading south to take on the Miami Dolphins (3-1) at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. Kickoff is set for Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm EST and the game will be broadcast on CBS.
The Ravens are 0-2 on the road this season after falling to the Denver Broncos in the season opener and just coming short last week against the Buffalo Bills. But the Ravens are looking to turn their game around and take down the Dolphins on their own turf.
Here’s a look at what the Ravens need to focus on in order to notch their first road win.
Improve run game
It’s no secret that the Ravens have struggled with running the ball this season. With Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, it seems as though running the ball will solidify points on the board on almost every drive. But the running backs are averaging less than 3 yards per carry and toward the end of each game, the Ravens seem to just scratch the run game altogether.
The running game starts with the offensive line. Without the proper blocking, it is impossible to run the ball on any defense. While this has been an area of struggle for the Ravens, the team has made moves to bring in a player that could change the dynamic of the offensive line. Left tackle Eugene Monroe was traded to the Ravens from Jacksonville for fourth and fifth round draft picks in 2014. Monroe passed his physical Thursday morning and is officially a Raven, allowing the possibility of the fifth year tackle to play on Sunday. If Monroe plays against the Dolphins, expect the Ravens to test him out and put the run game to work.
Utilize heathy receivers
The Ravens’ wide receivers have taken some hits and many of the receivers have been sidelined with injuries. Jacoby Jones (knee), Brandon Stokley (thigh), Marlon Brown (hamstring), and Deonte Thompson (head) have all been recovering from injuries since the start of the season.
Jones returned to practice this week, but has been limited since suffering from a sprained MCL in Week 1. Brandon Stokley was limited as well. But Marlon Brown and Deonte Thompson have been sidelined this week. Brown, who leads the Ravens’ receivers in touchdowns this season, is battling a hamstring injury after Sunday’s game in Buffalo. Thompson sustained a concussion late in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
The status on whether or not any of the four receivers will play on Sunday is still unknown.
The Ravens will have to rely on the healthy receivers on Sunday, especially wideout Torrey Smith and tight end Dallas Clark. Smith is looked at as one of the Ravens most reliable receivers, but has yet to put up big numbers this season. Clark can be a weapon for the Ravens, since the Dolphins struggle to defend capable tight ends.
Pressure Ryan Tannehill
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been a critical part of the team’s success so far this season. Tannehill is in his second year in the NFL and has put up big numbers on offense.
But the quarterback is inconsistent and tends to make mistakes, like many young players in the league. Tannehill has a 65 percent pass completion rate, but he also has five interceptions and six fumbles through Week 4.
The Ravens defense needs to pressure Tannehill and capitalize on his mistakes.
The Dolphins also have the best record in the NFL from the red zone. The team scores touchdowns on 82 percent of drives in the red zone. But if the Ravens can get to Tannehill, that number could drop and the Ravens will pull out a victory.