Ravens Vs. Dolphins

Nfl Week 11

Today, 1 P.m., Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Chs. 13, 9

November 16, 2003|By JAMISON HENSLEY

SCOUTING REPORT

Ravens run offense vs. Dolphins run defense -- EVEN

This represents the stiffest challenge for Ravens running back Jamal Lewis and the Dolphins' defense. Lewis has led the league in rushing for the past eight weeks, averaging 135 yards a game over that stretch. The last time he was held under 48 yards was in Miami last November. The Dolphins have not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season and have held teams to 3.0 yards per carry, which is tops in the NFL. The edge would go to the Ravens if Miami middle linebacker Zach Thomas, who is a game-time decision with a groin injury, can't play.

Ravens pass offense vs. Dolphins pass defense -- DOLPHINS

In his first start in two years, Anthony Wright replaces injured quarterback Kyle Boller and takes over the NFL's worst passing offense. The Ravens probably will keep the same basic game plan, limiting Wright to high-percentage throws (swing passes and quick slants) and the occasional deep shot to keep defenses honest. The Dolphins have two of the league's top cover cornerbacks in Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison. Safeties Brock Marion and Sammy Knight can be beaten deep but are capable of big plays. The Ravens, who allowed seven sacks in St. Louis, have to protect the edges, where Adewale Ogunleye (nine sacks) and Jason Taylor (3 1/2 ) can cause havoc.

Dolphins run offense vs. Ravens run defense -- EVEN

Miami running back Ricky Williams has shown signs of wearing down in his past two games, gaining 36 and 37 yards, respectively. But in last year's 26-7 win over the Ravens, Williams cranked out 102 yards rushing and two touchdowns as the Dolphins controlled the clock for 34 minutes. He is due for a breakout game after not reaching 95 yards rushing in six straight games, tying the longest such drought of his career. The Ravens, who have allowed just one 100-yard rusher, are coming off their season-best effort in limiting the Rams to 47 yards rushing, but they have been inconsistent at times. Four of the Ravens' past seven opponents have totaled more than 100 yards rushing as a team.

Dolphins pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense -- RAVENS

No unit has improved more throughout the season than the Ravens' secondary. The team's pass defense, which ranks fourth in the NFL, has picked off five throws while allowing one touchdown over the past three games. Cornerback Corey Fuller is now healthy and it'll be interesting to see if they re-insert him into the starting lineup or keep Gary Baxter at corner. For the fourth straight week, the Dolphins' Brian Griese will start at quarterback for the injured Jay Fiedler. Last Sunday, Griese was intercepted three times and sacked four times. The yardage for Miami's leading receiver, Chris Chambers, has dropped for the past three weeks.

Special teams -- RAVENS

If this game is decided by field goals, the Ravens have the advantage. Matt Stover has hit 10 consecutive field goals and is 16-for-16 inside 40 yards. The usually reliable Olindo Mare has struggled, missing on three of eight tries inside the 40. Both teams' coverage units have excelled, but their return games have been inconsistent.

Intangibles -- RAVENS

The Ravens are 17-9 following losses - including 3-0 this season - under coach Brian Billick. The Dolphins, who are facing a must-win game, are 1-3 at home. When the game-time temperature outdoors has been higher than 72 degrees, the fair-weather Ravens are 3-0. Today's forecast for Miami calls for temperatures in the low 80s.

Prediction -- RAVENS

Defense will decide this game and no team has a hotter group than the Ravens. Look for Jamal Lewis to do just enough to win and Wright to do just enough not to lose. Ravens, 13-12.

GAME FACTS

Records

Ravens 5-4 Dolphins 5-4

Line

Dolphins by 6

Vs. spread

Ravens 5-4 Dolphins 5-4

Series

Dolphins lead 3-1

Last meeting

Dolphins won, 26-7, on Nov. 17, 2002, in Miami.

NFL rankings

Ravens offense: Overall (25), rush (1), pass (32).

Ravens defense: Overall (2), rush (8), pass (4).

Dolphins offense: Overall (26), rush (18), pass (26).

Dolphins defense: Overall (15), rush (2), pass (27).

Quick hits

Ravens RB Jamal Lewis leads the NFL with 10 runs of 20 yards or more.

Ravens LB Ray Lewis has an interception in three consecutive games.

Dolphins are the only NFL team not to allow a 100-yard rusher this season.

Dolphins CB Patrick Surtain leads the AFC with six interceptions.

Injuries

RAVENS: Out: QB Kyle Boller (leg); TE John Jones (leg). Questionable: WR Frank Sanders (ankle). Probable: WR Marcus Robinson (leg); RB Chester Taylor (leg); WR Travis Taylor (chest).

DOLPHINS: Out: S Trent Gamble (knee). Questionable: QB Jay Fiedler (knee); C Tim Ruddy (knee); CB Patrick Surtain (ankle); LB Zach Thomas (groin). Probable: DT Larry Chester (hamstring/quadriceps); G Jamie Nails (elbow); G Todd Perry (eye); RB Ricky Williams (calf); S Shawn Wooden (knee).

STARTING LINEUPS

Ravens offense

TE 82 Terry Jones

LT 75 Jonathan Ogden

LG 64 Edwin Mulitalo

C 62 Mike Flynn

RG 66 Bennie Anderson

RT 78 Orlando Brown

TE 86 Todd Heap

WR 89 Travis Taylor

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