The Baltimore Ravens (6-2) take on the Miami Dolphins (2-7) on Thursday Night Football. The Ravens have been one of the best teams in the league with a top-five quarterback in Lamar Jackson and the second-best run game in the NFL. The Ravens are the number one seed in the AFC North despite a loss to their divisional rival the Cincinnati Bengals in Week Seven.
The Dolphins have struggled this year with starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa missing the best part of five games this season. The Dolphins record of 2-7 leaves them second-bottom in the AFC and in last place in the AFC East. The teams two wins came in Week One against the New England Patriots and in Week Nine against the 1-8 Houston Texans.
All the evidence is pointing to a one-sided affair that would see Baltimore leaving Miami with a win. The Ravens offense is the fifth-best in the NFL, when that comes up the leagues worse defense in the Dolphins, it should be a blowout.
Planet Sport takes an in-depth look at the clash.
Best bets for Dolphins vs Ravens
When: November 12, 2021 - 1.20am (BST)
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
How to watch: NFL Game Pass/Sky Sports NFL
Background information: Baltimore Ravens vs Miami Dolphins
All four teams in the AFC North are above .500 with the Ravens top of the pile.
In Week Nine the Ravens came out on top against the Minnesota Vikings in a fiercely competitive 34-31 victory in overtime. Justin Tucker kicked a game-winning 36-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in overtime to win the Ravens sixth game of the season. What made the win more impressive for the Ravens was coming back from a 14-point deficit twice to secure the victory.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson was responsible for 386-yards of offense including 120-yards rushing against Minnesota, furthering his case for MVP.
What makes Baltimore so impressive is the way that head coach John Harbaugh has got them playing. Harbaugh is in his 13th season as head coach of the Ravens and is the fourth-best head coach in the NFL according to Sports Illustrated. No matter the players at his disposal, Harbaugh has the ability to make his teams competitive and always in the playoff hunt, and this year is no exception.
The Miami Dolphins have played over half of their games this season without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and that has had a big impact on their ability to win games this season. Until last week's win over the Houston Texans the Dolphins were yet to win a game without Tagovailoa and could potentially be without him on Thursday night due to a thumb injury.
Until their 17-9 victory over the Texans, Miami were on a seven-game losing streak which included a 23-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. The team has been rather underwhelming this season.
After recording 10-wins last year, many believed that the Dolphins would be competing with the Buffalo Bills for the number one spot in the AFC East but this has not been the case. The lack of Tagovailoa has not helped and under third-year head coach Brian Flores, the team has very much underperformed.
Quarterback matchup: Lamar Jackson vs Jacoby Brissett
In the era of dual-threat quarterbacks, the player that stands out above all the rest is Lamar Jackson. He has 2,209 passing yards, 13 passing touchdowns and 600 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on the season so far.
These are superhero numbers and his ability to seemingly do everything on offense for Baltimore makes him such a dynamic player in the NFL.
In his previous two seasons, Jackson has rushed for over 1,000-yards and you wouldn't want to bet against him making it a hat-trick this year.
When he first entered the league, many viewed him as a running back that was playing quarterback and didn't expect him to have a future in that position. He has continually proved the doubters wrong.
This season he has become much more balanced and has shown that he can beat teams by making crucial throws late on in games, a skill he couldn't execute in previous years.
The decision of who will start at quarterback on Thursday for the Miami Dolphins will be a game-time decision.
As much as the Dolphins want Tua Tagovailoa to start, the expectation is that Jacoby Brissett will get the nod. Tagovailoa's injury isn't overly serious but Miami will be looking to protect their franchise quarterback.
In 2016, the New England Patriots drafted Brissett in the third round, he spent one season with the Patriots before joining the Colts. He was starter for two of his four seasons in Indianapolis, due to an injury to Andrew Luck. This is his first season in Miami and the only reason he has been getting playing time is due to injury.
Brissett has started four games this season, playing in seven total games. He has thrown for 1,127-yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. He has struggled for rhythm and has often looked uncomfortable as the starting quarterback. He has won just one game as the starter of the Dolphins and then came last week against the Houston Texans. Brissett threw for 244-yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Marquise Brown - Baltimore Ravens
As Lamar Jackson becomes a quarterback that can beat teams with both his arms and legs, he needs a number one wide receiver to have by his side. Marquise Brown is that man. So far this season he has six touchdowns, 682-yards on 46 receptions.
Last season Brown played in 16 games and had 769 yards and eight touchdowns.
On Thursday night against Miami, he could quite easily surpass his numbers from last season as he is just 87-yards off. He is incredibly quick and then helps him get open down the field, if he can improve his catching of deep throws then nothing can stop him and Jackson from taking the Ravens to the Super Bowl.
Patrick Queen - Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens defense is full of star quality in all positions but Patrick Queen, in just his second year in the NFL, is one of top performers. He currently leads Baltimore in the tackle column with 42, 28 of which are solo tackles.
In his rookie season, Queen struggled to adjust to the pace and intensity of the NFL. This year Queen has looked like a completely different player, he appears to be more natural in his position and is playing two steps faster than last year. No matter who plays at quarterback for Miami, Queen will be crucial in stopping them.
Mike Gesicki - Miami Dolphins
With all the issues surrounding Miami's quarterbacks, Mike Gesicki has been a staple of all good things their offense has done. Standing at 6ft 6in, Gesicki's size makes him a mismatch for opposing defenses. He leads the Dolphins with 529-yards to go alongside two touchdowns.
He has just the one 100-yard game on the season and that came in Week Six against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.
So far this season he has been targetted 63 times, in 2019 he had his career-best targets with 89. With how valuable he is to the Miami offense, 2021 should be a record-breaking year for Gesicki.
Christian Wilkins - Miami Dolphins
Christian Wilkins is a two-time College Football Playoff Champion with the Clemson Tigers and was a key player on both of those teams. In his third season in the NFL, Wilkins is slowly becoming the game-changer than he was in college. He is on track to have his best statistical season in the NFL to date, with 26 solo tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble so far.
As an interior defensive lineman, Wilkins will be key to stopping the Ravens running game which means stopping their leading rusher in Lamar Jackson.
September 8, 2019: Baltimore Ravens 59 Miami Dolphins 10
The two sides last met in Week One of the 2019 season with the Ravens routing the Dolphins in a 59-10 victory. Lamar Jackson tied a Ravens record with five touchdown passes as he went 17 for 20 for 324-yards. Baltimore running back had 107-yards rushing and two touchdowns. In his first NFL game, rookie Marquise Brown had 147-yards receiving and two touchdowns.
It was a day to forget for Miami as they went 0-1 for the first time since 2016.
October 26, 2017: Miami Dolphins 0 Baltimore Ravens 40
The Baltimore Ravens dominated the Miami Dolphins as they won a very lopsided affair. Baltimore quarterback, Joe Flacco was playing one of his best performances of the season before he took a hit to the helmet and was diagnosed with a concussion. In his absence, the Ravens defense stepped up scoring twice and restricting the Dolphins to very little offense.
The Ravens two scores on defense both game from pick-sixes. The first, a 63-yard return by linebacker C.J Mosley and a 50-yard pick-six by Jimmy Smith. Nothing went right for Miami, in his first start of the season, quarterback Matt Moore completed 25 of 44 passes for 176 yards. He was sacked three times, and both his interceptions turned into scores for Baltimore.
December 4, 2016: Miami Dolphins 6 Baltimore Ravens 38
Back in 2016, the Miami Dolphins were on a six-game winning but were outclassed when they came up against the Baltimore Ravens. It was a complete game from Baltimore. Quarterback Joe Flacco had a record-breaking day, throwing for 381 yards and four touchdowns.
The Ravens were 24-0 up at halftime and moved into a share of first place in the AFC North with ease.