So, here we go.
After a week off, the Ravens get a chance to put their surprisingly difficult win over the now 0-7 Bills in the rearview mirror when they face the 4-3 Dolphins on Sunday.
While they certainly enjoyed the rest and time off last week, Fabian Washington and the rest of the members of the Baltimore defense have been itching to get back out there and get a chance to bounce back from their horrific performance against Buffalo.
The Ravens and Dolphins met twice during the 2008 season - once in the regular season, and once in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. You might recall that both matchups resulted in Ravens wins.
Here's how these two teams match up statistically so far this season:
Ravens: 340.3 (14th)
Dolphins: 343.7 (13th)
Ravens: 114.9 (12th)
Dolphins: 111.3 (16th)
Ravens: 225.4 (15th)
Dolphins: 232.4 (12th)
Ravens: 313.9 (10th)
Dolphins: 309.4 (8th)
Ravens: 109.3 (17th)
Dolphins: 101.6 (t-11th)
Ravens: 204.6 (9th)
Dolphins: 207.9 (12th)
Ravens: -2 (19th)
Dolphins: -4 (t-21st)
Not too much difference between these two teams when you look at the stats, huh?
Neither squad has been dominant on the offensive side of the ball, but both have been effective. Neither team has shown lock-down defense, but both play physical, hard-nosed football on D and at times can cause problems for opposing offenses.
Defensively for the Ravens, Buffalo's duo of Lee Evans and Steve Johnson burned them for 264 receiving yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago (those numbers are really disturbing, by the way), so the Dolphins' talented wide receiving tandem of Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess might look scary to fans on paper. Though not the most explosive guys, those two could cause problems for the Baltimore DBs if the coverage and tackling issues that were present against Buffalo haven't been resolved.
Miami still has a nice 1-2 punch at the running back position in Ronnie Brown and the ageless Ricky Williams, and third-year quarterback Chad Henne has been effective (although far from spectacular) through seven games, throwing for 1,669 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.
We've talked about the issues that Dolphins outside linebacker Cameron Wake presents off the edge, but he's not the only playmaker that Miami has up front. They added former Cardinals inside 'backer Karlos (with a "K") Dansby this offseason, and he's been stout in the run game so far, and rookie outside linebacker Koa Misi has provided a nice pass-rush spark, notching 3.5 sacks.
On the backend, Miami has a talented group of DBs, led by cornerback Jason Allen, who has three interceptions. Strong safety Yeremiah Bell will come up into the box quite a bit to try and help in the run game, and he's very effective doing so.
All-in-all, this is a talented Dolphins team that has a shot at a Wild Card spot in a very competitive AFC, but I don't think they have what it takes to beat the Ravens in Baltimore this weekend. John Harbaugh's guys are coming off a bye, are healthy, and will be fired up to rebound after their questionable effort against the Bills.
Look for a balanced offensive attack from the Ravens and improved play from the secondary, especially Washington, who I think will bounce back nicely.
Put me down for a 27-20 Baltimore win.
What about you; how do you see this one shaking out?
Think the Dolphins have what it takes to come into M&T Bank Stadium and pick up the win? Or will the Ravens continue their home dominance and move to 6-2 on the season?