No, it's the Dolphins

FACEOFF

Who Would Provide The Most Favorable Playoff Matchup For The Ravens: The Dolphins, Jets Or Patriots?

December 23, 2008|By BILL ORDINE

One thing Baltimore Sun colleague Ken Murray and I can agree on is whom Ravens fans should least want to see the team play against in a potential playoff game: the New England Patriots. Who needs to travel to freezing Gillette Stadium and deal with Bill Belichick?

OK, so who would make for a comfortable first-round game?

No question: the Miami Dolphins.

First, the obvious. The Ravens have already beaten these guys once this season, 27-13 on Oct. 19 in Miami.

That happened to be the game that got the Ravens started on the run that has them in position to make the playoffs

It also happened to be one of the Ravens' most productive offensive efforts. Joe Flacco spread the ball around to six receivers and went 17-for-23 for 232 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. Willis McGahee ran for 105 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

The Dolphins can forget about their "wildcat" offense against the Ravens; the gimmick never got any traction in the first game. And while Miami quarterback Chad Pennington has had an exceptionally efficient year - 17 touchdown passes with just seven interceptions - he doesn't have the big arm that can challenge the Ravens deep when they are in man coverage.

Turnover differential has helped the Dolphins turn their fortunes around from a one-win season a year ago to the threshold of the playoffs. Miami is plus-14 in takeaways/giveaways. So if the Ravens don't give the Dolphins any help, Miami should be the perfect opponent.

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