Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins: Back Miami to be far too good for Baltimore

The legendary Ray Lewis retired after last season's Superbowl win
The legendary Ray Lewis retired after last season's Superbowl win

Neil Harvey thinks that, despite them winning the Superbowl last season, the Baltimore Ravens simply aren't the same team this year. What's more, they'll get beaten at Miami on Sunday...

"Let’s just get something clear from the get-go. This is not the same Baltimore Ravens that won the Superbowl last season, and their chances of repeating that success are zero."

Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins
Start Time: Sunday,  18:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports 3

 
Let's just get something clear from the get-go. This is not the same Baltimore Ravens that won the Superbowl last season, and their chances of repeating that success are zero.
 
The Ravens defence was picked clean after that victory, with linebackers Paul Kruger and Danell Ellerbe departing to the Browns and the Dolphins respectively, safety Ed Reed joining Houston, and the legendary Ray Lewis simply calling it a day. It should have come as little surprise then when the Ravens were torn apart by the NFL's top offence, that of the Denver Broncos, in Week One.
 
All that said though, the Ravens have shown real character to bounce back to a 2-2 record. They lost out by a field-goal to the Bills last week, but in between they beat the Browns and then thumped the Texans, thanks to a touchdown from a punt return and another from an interception.
 
The Ravens defence hasn't been the only area to suffer. Their offence has had to get used to life without wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who went to San Francisco, and make do at times without running back Ray Rice, who seems to be perpetually fighting injury. And don't expect Joe Flacco to perform many heroics, not if last week's five interceptions against Buffalo was anything to go by. If the Ravens are to again fly high, it will need to be on one wing. 
 
As for the Dolphins, their defence was torched on Monday in a 38-17 loss to New Orleans. In all honesty though, who doesn't get burned through the air by Drew Brees at some time or another? Brees is a Hall of Fame-quality QB. It's also not as if the Dolphins have no pass defence. They proved that in Week Three when defeating the pass-heavy Falcons.
 
Miami's victories over Indianapolis and Atlanta are highly significant. These are two teams capable of going all the way this year, and the Dolphins bettered them. Miami also beat Cleveland, just as the Ravens did, but by a much bigger margin. The Dolphins offence contains nothing that catches the eye. Ryan Tannehill is unspectacular at quarterback, as is Lamar Miller at running back. But Miami's whole seems to be greater than the sum of their parts. They won't win the Superbowl this year, but they could make a decent stab at making the play-offs, and ruin a few other teams' chances along the way.
 
Home advantage looks as though it could make a difference in this game. Baltimore won both their home fixtures, but lost both their road games. That doesn't bode well for them as they visit a Miami side that toughed-out two road victories before beating Atlanta in their only home game of the season. 
 
The stats suggest this will be a close contest on paper, with little to separate the teams in terms of offence or defence. But for me, Miami's 3- 1 record came against much tougher opposition and mostly on the road. Now back on home turf, they should have too much for the Ravens and are good enough to win this with relative ease.
 
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