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coleryan
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Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins: Preview and Pick

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On 10/01/2013 05:15 PM in NFL
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins: Preview and Pick

The Miami Dolphins started the season off with a hot start winning the first three games of the season. Now after a demoralizing loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, they will only have a short time to prepare for the defensive minded Baltimore Ravens.

Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Dolphins listed as (-3) point favorites. The line has yet to move, but the early public wagering is on the Ravens after watching the Dolphins lose under the prime time lights. As of the writing of this article, 40 percent of the public is backing the Dolphins. At this time the line can still be found at three points at many of the top rated online sportsbooks found here at Bang the Book.com.

The Saints defense carved up the Dolphins defense. Drew Brees was 20-of-27 for 295 yards and four touchdowns when the Dolphins sent 4 or fewer pass rushers. Coming into the game, the Dolphins had allowed 6.1 yards per attempt when sending a standard pass rush, third-best in the NFL. That defense will have to get well quick to take on the Ravens who are looking for a better game after losing to the Bills.

The Dolphins may have better luck against Joe Flacco. Flacco threw a career-high 5 interceptions against the Bills, upping his season total to 7. His 7 interceptions is tied for the 2nd-most through the 1st 4 games by the defending Super Bowl MVP. Until Ray Rice is 100 percent healthy the Ravens may have trouble putting up points. Bernard Pierce is a good back up, but the Ravens will be a much better team with a healthy Rice in the lineup.

The latest NFL betting trends for this matchup reveal some interesting betting angles leading up to kickoff. In fact both teams have some positive trends. The Ravens are 18-7-2 against the spread (ATS) in their last 27 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game, 5-0 ATS against a team with a winning record and 6-2 ATS in the last eight games overall.
The Dolphins are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following a loss, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 home games and 5-2 ATS in the last seven games overall. If the trends are any indication of how this game will turn out, the Dolphins are the play.

Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins Pick

With plenty of time to go before kickoff so, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.
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10/02/2013 02:48 PM
The Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed in principle to trade offensive tackle Eugene Monroe to the Baltimore Ravens.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter first reported the deal.

The Ravens will send multiple third-day draft picks to Jacksonville in exchange for Monroe, a league source told Schefter. The deal is still pending a physical.

"It was shocking news," Monroe told The Associated Press. "It came out of nowhere for me. I'm just preparing to make the move. It's a fresh start."

Monroe, 26, was taken by the Jaguars with the eighth pick in the 2009 draft out of Virginia.

He has started 62 games over five seasons, including the team's past 30 games. He was Jacksonville's best offensive lineman this season, getting beat at times as he tried to pick up the slack for struggling guard Will Rackley. Rookie Luke Joeckel, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft, now will switch from right tackle to left tackle for the Jaguars.

The Ravens have rushed for only 256 yards this season -- the fifth-lowest total in the NFL -- and have allowed 12 sacks through four games.

Monroe likely will replace Bryant McKinnie, who has struggled this season and was involved in a party bus incident last week. McKinnie was benched for the entire 2012 regular season but redeemed himself by starting throughout the Ravens' Super Bowl run.

The Ravens re-signed McKinnie this offseason to a two-year, $6.3 million contract, which included a $2 million signing bonus.

With Monroe in the final year of his contract and the winless Jaguars clearly in the early phases of a complete rebuilding project, it made sense to trade him now and get something in return. If Monroe does break into Baltimore's starting lineup and plays well, it could mean a long-term deal for the former Virginia standout and Plainfield, N.J., native.

"I hope it works out," said Monroe, whose wife is from the Baltimore area. "I've never really been focused on a new contract. I've always just been the same guy, ready to give the best I've got and let everything work itself out."

The Ravens hope Monroe can help an inconsistent line that has had difficulty opening holes for running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. Baltimore allowed four sacks Sunday in a 23-20 loss to Buffalo.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't single out McKinnie as the problem behind the team's lackluster running game, but it was apparent something had to be done after Baltimore set a franchise record for fewest rushing attempts (nine) against Buffalo. Baltimore also is 28th in the league in rushing, averaging 64 yards a game.

"I think the whole O-line is disappointing right now," Harbaugh said Monday. "There's no one more disappointed than they are right now. We've got to run block better, we've got to pass block better."

The question now in Jacksonville: Who's next? With Monroe gone, the team has just one player on the roster (defensive end Tyson Alualu) from any of the three drafts between 2008 and 2010.

The Jaguars aren't close to being competitive, so it makes sense to try to trade players with value who aren't in general manager Dave Caldwell's long-term plans.

The players could include running back Maurice Jones-Drew, tight end Marcedes Lewis and linebacker Paul Posluszny.
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10/02/2013 02:50 PM
A collection of what other media outlets are saying as the Ravens prepare for Sunday's game on the road against the Miami Dolphins.

* NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal raves about the Ravens' acquisition of left tackle Eugene Monroe.

The city of Baltimore was hoping general manager Ozzie Newsome could work his magic and make a trade for a wide receiver who would save the sagging Ravens offense. He did much better.


* CBS Sports' Pete Prisco believes a change of scenery will help Monroe.

During the summer, I made Eugene Monroe the left tackle on my All-Prisco team, but he hasn't played up to that level so far this season. Maybe a new team will change that.

*ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley thinks the Ravens' move represents an upgrade at the position.

Monroe is one of the most underrated left tackles in the NFL, although he hasn't played up to his standards this season. When you play for the lowly Jaguars, it's tough to get recognized. Just ask linebacker Daryl Smith.

Monroe's a quality pass protector and a solid run blocker. While he's not Joe Thomas, the real key here is he's significantly better than Bryant McKinnie, the Ravens' current left tackle.

* Peter King of SI.com's Monday Morning Quarterback picks Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco as his "Goat of the Week" for his performance in the loss to the Bills.

He threw five interceptions at Buffalo, leading to 13 Buffalo points, and the Ravens lost by three. Not good.

* On SportingNews.com, Mike Wilkening cautions against giving up on the Ravens.

The Ravens merit a mulligan for their 23-20 loss at Buffalo on Sunday. Look at it this way: they lost by just three points in a game where Joe Flacco threw five interceptions. The Ravens’ offense isn’t as potent as it was at the end of last season, but it’s better than it was on Sunday. The running game -- a nonfactor in Buffalo -- will perk up. And Flacco’s better than that. Finally, the Ravens’ defense allowed just 4.4 yards per play at Buffalo -- a very good mark. The Ravens will be fine.

* Hensley believes Ravens running back Ray Rice is wrong -- the team should push the panic button on its running game.

There was nothing wrong about the Ravens not being overly concerned when they could not run the ball against Denver, Cleveland and Houston. But the Ravens cannot say "it's going to get better" after failing to run the ball against the Bills.

NFL power rankings

* Pat Kirwin of CBS Sports ranks the Ravens at No. 21 this week.

Joe Flacco can't throw five interceptions and take four sacks. The Ravens can't run for 2.7 yards a carry against the 30th-ranked run defense in Buffalo and expect this team to stay in the top 12.

* After last week's loss, NFL.com's Elliot Harrison drops the Ravens to No. 15 this week.

"Reports are slowly trickling in that the Ravens are considering running the ball once every 10 minutes, a stunning departure from Baltimore's winning formula of 'Pass, pass, pass, pass, sack, interception, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, sack, run, pass.' We'll try to get more information from one of our NFL Insiders, next on 'NFL Total Access.' "

* The Ravens dropped eight spots in the Associated Press Pro32 poll, ranking No. 16 this week.

* Prisco lists the Ravens at No. 14 this week, down three spots from last week.

They've looked liked anything but a Super Bowl champion. They can't run it at all. Going to Miami to face the Dolphins won't be easy.

* On FoxSports.com, former Ravens coach Brian Billick ranks the team at No. 15 this week.

Joe Flacco's five interceptions came against a Bills secondary without its two starting corners and their best safety. All the while, the Ravens attempted just nine rushes in the entire game. Nine!

* ESPN.com drops the Ravens to No. 14, down three spots from last week.

Joe Flacco dropped back to pass on a career-high 85.8 percent of snaps and threw as many interceptions (five) as Ray Rice had rushes Sunday. Maybe they should run more?

* Hensley of ESPN.com explains the voting process.

The biggest surprise for me was seeing the Tennessee Titans ranked ahead of the Ravens. The Titans have a better record at 3-1, but they lost to the Texans, a team that the Ravens routed. As one of six voters on the Power Rankings, I had the Ravens at No. 10, but the others don't see it that way. The Ravens are the eighth-ranked team in the AFC in the Power Rankings.

* The Ravens drop from No. 3 to No. 10 in ProFootballTalk's rankings this week
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10/02/2013 02:51 PM
On the Ravens’ first offensive play from scrimmage, left guard Kelechi Osemele was flagged for a personal foul for grabbing a facemask. Before the next snap, running back Ray Rice false started.

It was that kind of day for the Ravens offense Sunday in Buffalo, one in which it shot itself in the foot too frequently.

Joe Flacco’s five interceptions were obviously difference-makers. But the Ravens’ six offensive penalties also hindered the unit’s ability to gain rhythm, and they’re contributing to the team’s slow starts.

Head Coach John Harbaugh was not happy about the penalties Monday, and made it a point to address them with his team. “We had some offensive penalties that are just unnecessary,” he told reporters. “We have a facemask penalty the first play of the game. It’s absolutely unnecessary. Ray gets a little jumpy and jumps offside. Now we’re backed up inside or right around our 5-yard line. We’ve got to start faster.”

It didn’t get much better from there.

“How about the first play of the second half?” Harbaugh said. “We come out, and we jump offside.”

The Ravens kicked off three offensive drives with penalties. There was Osemele’s to open the game, a hold on tackle Michael Oher and a false start on tight end Ed Dickson to start the second half. Those penalties drive the percentages down in terms of converting a first down.

The penalties haven’t been limited to one player this season.

Last week, tackle Bryant McKinnie was flagged twice for 15-yard personal foul penalties for grabbing pass rushers’ facemasks. In Week 1, center Gino Gradkowski got a personal foul for unnecessary roughness after the play was over. Even Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda was called for a false start in Buffalo.

The offensive line has specifically had problems. Osemele was also flagged Sunday for not lining up on the line of scrimmage, something hardly ever seen for a guard.

The Ravens offense has 13 penalties so far this season, compared to eight on defense. Baltimore’s 12 offensive penalties are tied for 12th most in the league.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith said he felt it was the biggest thing holding the offense back.

“We have to find a way to win the tough games, but at the same time find a way not to shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties,” he said. “Same thing two games in a row in terms of offense. We're starting from behind in the count because we're having penalties."
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10/02/2013 02:53 PM
Getting over the type of loss the Miami Dolphins suffered in New Orleans is never easy, but the short week and the reality of the defending Super Bowl champs being the next opponent makes it an absolute necessity.

Veteran players like left guard Richie Incognito, center Mike Pouncey and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe are well aware of how a team can go from the high of winning its first three games to the low of faltering on a national stage. Their sights are now set on the Baltimore Ravens and this Sunday’s game at Sun Life Stadium, as well as on returning to the form that led Miami to a 3-0 start.

“I think on a short week like this, we’ve got a tough opponent coming in so you have to turn the page quickly,” said Incognito, who is in his ninth season in the league and fourth with the Dolphins. “It’s something that we’re accustomed to here in the NFL, but especially on a short week we have a bitter taste in our mouth and we want to get back to work. I think what we need to do is focus on getting back to work, focusing on Baltimore and focus on getting a win this week.”

Ellerbe won’t have a difficult time focusing on the Ravens since he spent the first four years of his career with them and played a pivotal role in their 34-31 win over San Francisco in last year’s Super Bowl. He played a different role on that team with future Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis as the leader of the defense, as now he is the one responsible for getting everyone lined up properly before the ball is snapped.

Even though Ellerbe is downplaying the significance of facing the team that let him test the free agent market in the offseason, he knows how important it is for the Dolphins to head into the bye week on a positive. That is why he is quickly trying to move on from the loss to the Saints.

“It’s like that with any game, win or loss. You’ve got to put it behind you and take 24 hours to get it out of your system,” Ellerbe said. “You’ve got 16 games to play and you don’t have long to study for them. You only have a couple of days and weeks so you’ve got to put the last game behind you and look forward to winning the next game.”

All of the Dolphins players took Head Coach Joe Philbin’s message that he delivered after the game and today before their positional meetings to heart and that was to learn from the mistakes that were committed and clean things up in practice this week. He pointed out that Miami is the only team in the league that has a winning record while also carrying a minus turnover ratio and that has to change.

Philbin reinforced the theme he has preached throughout training camp, the preseason and the first quarter of the regular season – consistency. He reminded them of it after each of the first three wins and didn’t change his tune at all today.

“We’ve just got to go back to work and we talked to the team about how it’s easy to come in and work after you win every game and things are going well,” Philbin said. “We told the team that we’re not going to be riding the wave around here. We look for guys that have a consistent approach toward every single game and every day at work that they look to strive to improve. So there’s no magic wand we’re going to wave, but you’ve got to learn from your mistakes, correct and then move forward.”

And the learning begins anew right now.
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10/03/2013 02:20 PM
Here is a look at whose stock is up and down: with the Dolphins:

Rising

1. Jared Odrick, defensive tackle:
Odrick had his best game of the season against New Orleans. He registered five tackles, one sack and four of his tackles were for losses. Odrick was nearly unblockable inside. He was a big reason why the Saints averaged only 2.8 yards per carry.

2. Lamar Miller, running back:
Miller is finding a way to make more out of his opportunities the past few weeks. He rushed for 62 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. Miller's yards per carry have increased to a solid 4.6. However, the Dolphins are not running the ball a lot and splitting time between Miller and backup Daniel Thomas. Miller needs more carries.

3. Charles Clay, tight end:
It's hard to pick three standouts for Miami in a 21-point drubbing. But Clay has gone about his business and tied for the team lead with six receptions. Clay also is second on the team with 20 catches and has done a decent job replacing injured tight end Dustin Keller. Clay has five or more receptions in three games this season.

Falling

1. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback:
Tannehill began the season playing at an MVP level. He was due to lay an egg at some point, and that happened Monday. Tannehill had four turnovers, which included three interceptions and one fumble. It wasn't the kind of game Tannehill wanted to have on national television. The key will be whether Tannehill can bounce back Sunday with a good game or allow things to snowball.

2. Safety play:
Two players (Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles) had more than 100 yards receiving for the Saints and a third (Marques Colston) had 96 yards. That's a pretty good indication that Miami's safeties aren't playing up to expectations. Miami starting safeties Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons have been together for a while, but this group isn't gelling in the first four games. Both struggled mightily by allowing big plays to the Saints, who registered 413 passing yards. Miami is 24th against the pass, and Jones and Clemons need to step up their games in order to prevent more big plays.

3. Offensive line:
It wasn't as bad as New Orleans linebacker Junior Gallete claimed, but Miami's offensive line did struggle against the Saints in pass protection. The Dolphins allowed four sacks on Tannehill. Miami's offense became predictable after falling behind in the second half, which allowed the Saints to tee off. Tannehill is the most sacked quarterback in the NFL this year with 18. It's not all on the offensive line, but the group has had its fare share of mistakes this season.
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10/03/2013 02:22 PM
The Baltimore Ravens' coaching staff and front office aren't messing around following a deflating loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 4.

One day after coach John Harbaugh called out the offensive line as a disappointment, general manager Ozzie Newsome pulled the trigger on a trade for left tackle Eugene Monroe.

Defensive tackle Chris Canty confirmed on NFL Network's "Around the League Live" Wednesday that the move succeeded in getting the attention of Ravens players. "It's showing everybody in the locker room that this organization is dedicated to winning now," Canty said. "We're not going to rest on what this football team did last year. We're trying to win football games now, and I think that this puts everybody on notice that we need to bring our A-games.

"Everybody needs to get on board in the direction that this football team is going, which is to try to be successful, and ultimately, to try to win a championship."

Now that the offensive line has been addressed, Harbaugh's next priority is getting Ray Rice on track after the franchise back averaged just 3.0 yards per carry and 4.0 yards per reception in the season's first month.

"We need to get Ray involved in every single way," Harbaugh explained Wednesday. "Passing game, run game, every single way. It's definitely important for us, we want to do that every week, and obviously we did not do a good job of that on Sunday."

Those comments are music to the ears of Rice's frustrated fantasy football owners.

As we've seen with Frank Gore, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown in recent weeks, it doesn't take long for production to spike once the coaching staff game plans to get an offensive focal point back on track.

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10/03/2013 02:23 PM
The Ravens announced that left tackle Eugene Monroe passed his physical in Baltimore on Thursday, allowing them to put the finishing touches on the deal with the Jaguars that sent Monroe north.

According to the team’s website, the draft picks heading back to Jacksonville are a fourth- and a fifth-round choice in next year’s draft. That’s what Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times Union reported on Wednesday as well and it’s a price that the Ravens shouldn’t have much trouble affording given the compensatory picks they’re likely to get next year after losing Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Ed Reed as free agents during the offseason.

The Ravens weren’t sure on Wednesday whether Monroe will make his debut this weekend.

“I don’t know. He’s not here yet, so once we get him here we’ll figure that out,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Obviously we’re bringing Eugene in to play. How soon that can happen remains to be seen.”

Whenever Monroe does debut, he’ll be wearing a new uniform number. Monroe will have to change his number from 75 to 60 because Jonathan Ogden wore No. 75 with the Ravens and no left tackles (or any other players) will be wearing those digits again for the Ravens. Tight end Billy Bajema was released to make room for Monroe on the roster.
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10/04/2013 01:35 PM
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco are both likely eager to get back on the field after Week 4 losses.

They probably just want it to hurt a little less when they square off Sunday in Miami.

Tannehill has been sacked a league-high 18 times, including four in Monday night's 38-17 loss to New Orleans, and the Ravens' 23-20 defeat to Buffalo last Sunday prompted general manager Ozzie Newsome to trade for offensive line help.

The problem has been there all year for the Dolphins (3-1), but it has received more attention in the week following the loss to the Saints than it did following their three wins.

"It's a big concern," coach Joe Philbin said. "Eighteen sacks is 4 1/2 a game. That's too many."

Flacco has been sacked 12 times, tied for the seventh-most, and he was dropped four times against the Bills while also throwing a career-high five interceptions. On top of that, the Ravens (2-2) are 28th in rushing with 64.0 yards per game and tied for last in the league with 2.6 yards per carry.

"I think the whole O-line is disappointing right now," coach John Harbaugh said. "There's no one more disappointed than they are right now. We've got to run block better, we've got to pass block better."

It led Newsome to acquire left tackle Eugene Monroe from Jacksonville on Tuesday for a pair of 2014 draft picks.

The Ravens abandoned the running game against the Bills, attempting a franchise-low nine rushes.

"I just felt like we weren't running the ball well enough to win the game running the ball," Harbaugh said. "Looking back on it, I feel the same way. After watching the tape, I feel we did exactly the right thing to try to win that game."

Running back Ray Rice has 89 yards on 30 attempts in three games, and Bernard Pierce leads the team with 151 yards on 56 rushes.

Miami ranks 10th in rushing defense, holding opponents to 98.5 yards per game. It limited the Saints to 68 yards on the ground, but Drew Brees more than made up for it with 413 yards passing and four touchdowns.

The Ravens suffered through a similarly humbling loss in Week 1 to the Broncos, but they've responded by allowing 38 points in three games since Peyton Manning's seven-touchdown night.

Flacco acknowledged the 23 points they gave up to the Bills weren't all on the defense.

"A lot of that falls on me today and just throwing the ball to the wrong team," Flacco said. "If we don't do that, then this game probably looks a little different."

While turnovers were an issue for both teams in Week 4, neither has been particularly impressive taking the ball away. The Ravens have six and a minus-2 differential and the Dolphins have seven and a minus-1.

"That's something we have to get corrected," Philbin said after his team turned the ball over four times against the Saints. "I reminded the players the last time the Dolphins won the division (in 2008), they had a plus-17 turnover margin for the season. That's something we need to start heading toward."

The Dolphins would also like to see an improvement in the chemistry between Tannehill and wide receiver Mike Wallace, who is fourth on the team in receptions (15) and yards (176).

Torrey Smith, Flacco's No. 1 target, is third in the league in receiving yards with 435 on 21 catches. His 20.7 yards-per-catch average is second in the NFL.

Who Flacco's other receiving options will be Sunday is still up in the air. Jacoby Jones has missed the last three games with a sprained right MCL while Marlon Brown injured his thigh last week.

Baltimore has lost four straight regular-season road games despite winning playoff games in Denver and New England last year on its way to the Super Bowl.

Miami has won three in a row at home and is seeking its first 4-1 start since 2003.
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10/05/2013 09:47 AM
Wide receiver Jacoby Jones (knee) is questionable for the Ravens as he tries to make his return from the injury he suffered in Week One. Cornerback Lardarius Webb (thigh) and wide receiver Marlon Brown (thigh) are also questionable after getting dinged last weekend. Defensive end Terrence Cody (knee) and center Ryan Jensen (foot) are both doubtful.


The Dolphins ruled CB Dimitri Patterson (groin) out while defensive end Cameron Wake (knee) is questionable after missing last week’s game. Wide receiver Brandon Gibson (ankle) is also questionable and defensive tackle Paul Soliai (knee) and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (knee) are probable.
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