Ravens' Run Game Attempts To Fly Right On South Beach
By Josh Aronson
The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a disappointing loss to the Buffalo Bills last week and will look to rebound against another AFC East team when they travel to face the Miami Dolphins, who suffered their first loss of the season against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
The run game for the Ravens was non-existent last week, only running the ball nine times while QB Joe Flacco recorded 50 pass attempts. Baltimore needs to get the run game back on track if it wants to beat the Dolphins Sunday, so expect the Ravens to come out and pound the ball up the middle against the Miami defense.
In order to establish the run, the Ravens will need to get much better offensive line play. This past week, Baltimore traded for LT Eugene Monroe. giving up a fourth- and fifth-round picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Monroe is an immediate upgrade over Bryant McKinnie and brings youth and talent to the struggling offensive line.
The offensive line was phenomenal last season but has been a disappointment so far in 2013. The addition of Monroe will rejuvenate the front five and will allow Baltimore to run the ball effectively.
Last week, RBs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce were non-factors. While their opportunities were limited, each failed to gain over 30 yards. Both Rice and Pierce will be relied on heavily this week as the Ravens will likely run the ball more than 50 percent of the time.
Expect the Ravens to come out and run the ball on almost every first down Sunday as the offensive line has its best game of the year. Rice will finish with 20 carries, 110 yards and one touchdown while Pierce addes 50 yards on 10 carries. The Ravens have been a very successful ground and pound team for the last couple of years and will get back to that again Sunday.
Prediction: Ravens 27, Dolphins 13