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AFC Showdown Preview: Miami at Baltimore

Lamar Jackson and Tua Tagovailoa

Two teams atop the AFC will battle it out and try and usher their team into 2024 holding the top spot! The Miami Dolphins will visit the Baltimore Ravens where Tua Tagovailoa and Lamar Jackson will lead their teams in what is expected to be a wild one. As it currently stands, each team has punched a ticket to the postseason as Baltimore sits at 12-3 and Miami at 11-4. Conveniently enough, I will be live at the game and am ready for the showdown!

AFC Showdown Preview: Miami at Baltimore

Of note, both teams had impressive week 16 wins. Miami beat the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Eve. This is important as the Dolphins have been criticized for their inability to beat good teams (this was their first win against a winning record), but taking down a talented Cowboys team should quiet the critics-at least a bit.

Baltimore went on the road to visit a hot 49ers team on Christmas Day and stole Shanahan’s cheer as the Ravens’ defense picked on both quarterbacks all night. They notched five total interceptions (Purdy-4 and Darnold-1) and four sacks. Not only did this defense contribute greatly, but Lamar Jackson was spectacular as he recorded 252 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and zero picks. Considering Lamar’s average supporting cast due to injuries, he is making magic with guys like wide receiver Nelson Agholor. This has Jackson as the MVP front-runner once again.

Keys To Victory

Baltimore Ravens

The defense needs to pressure Tua as Miami’s offensive line is a bottom-10 unit. It will force Tua into some iffy situations. He will be without WR2 Jaylen Waddle.

-Lamar Jackson can open up the big plays to Zay Flowers with a tag team of himself and RB Gus Edwards pounding the rock enough.

-If TE Isaiah Likely has a big game (60+ yards or so) in place of the injured Mark Andrews, this will mimic some of their work against the 49ers in Week 16.

Miami Dolphins

-Protect the football. Baltimore D flies around and is aggressive. Tua needs to handle the ball with care and lean on Mostert and Achane to chip away at Mike Macdonald’s defense.

-Win the turnover battle. Miami goes into the game at a +8 turnover margin and will need all the advantages possible.

-Speed and explosive plays are going to be important for the Fins once the run game has been established. Baltimore hasn’t faced an offense quite like Miami this year. Let Tua unleash it downfield and wear them out attempting to stop the Cheetah.

-Control the clock to tire out Baltimore’s defense.

Prediction

The New Year’s Eve clash is set at a point total of 47. The home team, Baltimore, is favored by 3.5. What does this mean? Oddsmakers are forecasting a close one.

As hard as it will be to ignore McDaniels’ brain and what Tua, Tyreek, Mostert, and company are doing, I can’t bet against the Ravens. Especially being at home on a holiday show. What Lamar is doing in conjunction with a brawny defense cannot be ignored. Jackson has a passer rating of 98.9 with 2,327 yards/15 TDs/5 INT’s in his last ten games. I am going to go 28-24 Baltimore.

 

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