Baltimore Ravens Have Been the Best and Worst for Miami Dolphins. What now?

Enlai PensadoContributor IDecember 31, 2008

Miami Dolphins are writing an almost unbelievable story, from being a joke and transforming themselves into contenders. In numbers, this seems to be a typo, because they jumped from 1-15 into 11-5 in a matter of one single season, matching 1999 Colts' 10-game transition from 3-13 into 13-3.

In fact, that lone win came late last season in Week 15, when the game hero was Greg Camarillo, an underrated player who caught an overtime pass that settled that game, a play that was celebrated like winning the Super Bowl.

Definitely a year to forget, one where fans used paper bags on their heads. The 2007 Dolphins were that bad, and gained their only win playing at home versus their next opponent: the Baltimore Ravens.

So the Ravens were responsible for the few highlights to be included on the 2007 Dolphins video. But Baltimore also has the 2001 playoff win at the very same location. This puts a very important question in the air: Will Dolphins stop Ravens this time?

It's not easy to pick one team or the other, mostly because they are too different. Both enjoy of good defensive units and decent offenses. Both QBs avoid turnovers, and their teams tend to avoid penalties.

By the way, the race for Coach of the Year has a lot of candidates for different reasons, starting with Tom Coughlin for his great job on keeping the G-Men among the elite of NFL.

Other cases are related, with three rookie head coaches whose teams are in the playoffs: Mike Smith of Atlanta, John Harbaugh of Baltimore, and of course Tony Sparano of Miami. Among them, Smith seems to be favored mostly because Sparano has been a product of Bill Parcells' tutoring, while Harbaugh worked with a pretty good team lacking a quality QB.

But let's put aside the COY tag for now. Sunday's game is going to pit two brilliant minds against each other for a chance to advance.

The Ravens caged the Wildcat last time they met in Miami, so unless Miami can add another wrinkle into their offensive scheme, it's going to be the same story.

The defensive side of Miami should have the biggest impact, mostly because the pass rush must improve, and stopping the running game is going to be the real key for this Wild Card game.

For the Ravens, they must focus on avoiding offensive mistakes and let their defense carry the load. For the Dolphins, they must be more effective on special teams, because field position can change everything.

The biggest difference from Week Seven is the fact that no matter what, it's a sell-out crowd filled with a lot of passion and hope for this Dolphins team.

My Projection: Baltimore 10 - Miami 20.