Ravens need to pull plug on Dolphins' road show

November 06, 2010|Peter Schmuck

It's time for the Ravens to introduce the Miami Dolphins to a term that they probably haven't heard this year.

Road kill.

The Dolphins seem to have found a comfort zone on the road, as evidenced by their 4-0 record away from home and their inexplicable inability to register a victory at Dolphins Stadium. It's a highly unusual dichotomy which needs to be corrected on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

The oddsmakers obviously aren't impressed. They've installed the Ravens as a 5 1/2-point favorite to come off their bye week and show the Dolphins what it's like to play in a truly hostile environment — and I'm not just talking about the decibel level on the field. They're coming to Baltimore, not Buffalo or Minneapolis or Cincinnati or some wimpy Dairy Belt burg like Green Bay.

I mean, let's be honest. When you go to Minnesota, you play in an inflatable stadium which is a few blocks from the intersection where Mary Richards threw her hat into the air at the start of every episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

Oooh. Scary.

We're known for "The Wire" and "Homicide: Life on the Streets," which were pretty much based on fact.

This is the place they exploded a nuclear bomb at the Camden Yards sports complex in "The Sum of All Fears," which may or may not explain what has happened the Orioles over the past decade or so.

This is the city that scared head coaching candidate Jason Garrett and his family into staying in Dallas, a choice — by the way — that isn't looking too good right now.

Admittedly, any road win is a good win, and the Vikings were supposed to be a pretty good team when the Dolphins eked out a 14-10 victory in Week 2 at (yes, really) Mall of America Field, but now that the Vikes are a 2-5 train wreck, it's hard to put much stock in that victory. Same goes for the win last week over the Bengals, who have similarly fallen off the map in the AFC North.

If this were the BCS and the Dolphins were Boise State and the rankings were based on strength of road schedule, they'd have dropped all the way to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl by now.

Cincinnati is a nice town where they put chocolate in their chili and then put their chili on spaghetti and seem convinced that they invented something so unique that you'd be willing to travel to Ohio just to taste it, but don't hold your breath for the next "CSI" spinoff.

Green Bay was a tough stop. I'll give the Dolphins that much, but the Cheeseheads are just too polite to put any fear into an opposing team and "Titletown" is so small that it makes Jacksonville look like Gotham City. Lambeau Field is a tough place to play because of the cold late in the season and the Packers are one of the best teams in the NFC, but the locals are more likely to offer you the guest room than show you The Bronx.

This isn't meant to denigrate the Dolphins' unblemished road record. Well, actually, it is. They opened the season against the Bills, who are still looking for their first victory of the year. They went right back on the road to beat Brett Favre — who is looking more and more like he'd rather be lining up for the early bird special at Bob Evans — and they caught Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers coming off a concussion. The Bengals were just gravy.

Conversely, they have had three very tough draws at home, losing to the Jets and Patriots and getting the raw end of an inconclusive replay to lose a heart-breaker to the Steelers two weeks ago. And their home schedule doesn't get any easier next week, when the Tennessee Titans and new receiver Randy Moss visit South Florida.

So, this is a pretty big game for both teams. The Dolphins could join the Ravens at 5-3 and pick up the postseason tie-breaker if they can stay unbeaten on the road, and they would be positioned very well for a much softer second half of the season.

The Ravens can't let that happen. They want to stay unbeaten at home and on top of the division. They've had two weeks to get ready for the Dolphins and they need to make a statement as they head into the second half of their regular season schedule.

It's time to turn these road warriors into road kill.

Simple as that.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon Fridays and Saturdays and at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays with Brett Hollander. Also, check out his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.

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