By Kevin McGuire
The Baltimore Ravens look to get things back on track at home on a short week when they host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football in Week 8. Coming off another ugly loss, the Ravens need Joe Flacco and the passing game to get in gear if they are going to avoid a loss to the Dolphins. Miami comes in with Matt Moore getting the start for an injured Jay Cutler after leading the Dolphins to a wild fourth-quarter rally on Sunday. Will that momentum carry over on the road on a short week?
Dolphins QB Jay Cutler likely out with cracked ribs
Free-agent addition Jay Cutler will be unlikely to play this Thursday night for the Dolphins. Cutler left Sunday’s game against the New York Jets and was later reported by the team to have cracked ribs. On a short week, that likely means Cutler will need to stay on the sideline while he heals. Matt Moore replaced the injured Cutler on Sunday and should be expected to lead the offense this week as the Dolphins head to Baltimore. Moore led the Dolphins to a fourth-quarter rally to grab a close win against the Jets on Sunday.
Dolphins feel confident in close games
With Sunday’s 31-28 victory over the Jets, Miami is now 3-0 this season in games decided by three points or fewer. Expanding that gap to seven points or fewer, the Dolphins have a franchise-record 12-game winning streak going when the game is decided by no more than a touchdown. Against the Ravens, the Dolphins are 3-2 in games decided by seven points or fewer dating back to 2003.
What’s wrong with Ravens passing game?
Baltimore owns the worst passing offense in the NFL going into Thursday night with an average of just 157.4 passing yards per game. Joe Flacco has been picked off eight times already this season with just five touchdown passes thrown. Between off-target passes and drops, few receivers in the Ravens offense have proven to be reliable. The addition of Jeremy Maclin has not paid off as hoped just yet, and Mike Wallace returned to last weekend’s game soon after a concussion. On the other side of this game, the Dolphins have the 30th-ranked passing offense in the NFL. Don’t expect either team to air it out very much Thursday night.
Will Baltimore’s home woes continue?
The Ravens have lost four of the last five games, with two of those losses coming at home and one more coming in London. The only home win this season for the Ravens came in Week 2 against the lowly Cleveland Browns. Since then, the Steelers dominated Baltimore (26-9) and the Ravens dropped a 27-24 game to the Chicago Bears two weeks ago. The Dolphins are already 2-1 on the road this season, including a 20-17 comeback against the Atlanta Falcons two weeks ago.
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Contributor to The Comeback, Awful Announcing, Athlon Sports. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.