Ravens Fan Paranoia: Week 8
The Dolphins travel to Baltimore as the Ravens look to take advantage of another chance to “reboot” their season.
Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens, Thursday 8:25pm ET (CBS)
The Ravens struggled to find the end zone until late in the fourth quarter in last week’s game against the Vikings. The offensive struggles continued as the defense was constantly asked to do more and more of the heavy lifting to keep the Ravens in the game. So far, not so good with this tactic this season. The offensive line has been trending downward ever since Marshal Yanda went down with a season ending injury, which I highlighted as a concern in my Week 3 post (The Vikings sacked Flacco 5 times). The running game has been slightly more productive than the Ravens passing attack, which isn’t saying much, but the Joe Flacco train has also been a concern since my Week 5 post. These aspects will be an ever growing concern as the year progresses, but my concern has shifted this week.
What I am most worried about? Raven’s Defensive Front Seven
Prepare your eyes: The Ravens rank last in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 145.3 yards/game. My fingers twitched as I wrote that last sentence. I couldn’t tell you the last time the Ravens rush defense was ranked this low, if ever. Unfortunately, Ravens fans could have seen this coming if they read Louie Benjamin’s Rankings of all 32 team’s defensive sevens before the season. The Ravens ranked 21st on that list.
As the Dolphins come to town, the Ravens defense will have their work cut out for them. Jay Cutler is averaging the lowest yards per pass attempt of his career with 5.5 yards/attempt. This means a lot of check downs to the running back and an involved tight end. Baltimore’s defense will have to key in on completing tackles and keep the attack in front of them. The secondary should hold it down as the unit continues to be a bright spot on this team. Hopefully the front seven can pressure Cutler and keep running back Jay Ajayi in front of them. If they fail to do so, it could be another long day for this Ravens defense.