Five early thoughts on Ravens (4-7) vs. Dolphins (4-7), who meet Sunday (1 p.m.) in Florida:
1. The Dolphins will feature some new wrinkles with a new offensive coordinator.
Bill Lazor was fired Monday and replaced by Zac Taylor, who was promoted from quarterbacks coach. The Dolphins need a spark, ranked 27th in the NFL in both total offense and points per game. They’re hoping Taylor finds the key to unlock quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s potential. Tannehill can watch tape of the Ravens this season and see them getting torched for big plays. That’s a trend the Ravens’ secondary needs to stop Sunday.
2. South Florida has been very, very good to the Ravens.
This is the third straight season the Ravens are facing the Dolphins on the road, with the Ravens winning the previous two meetings. Ravens coach John Harbaugh had the heat turned up in the Ravens’ indoor practice facility Wednesday, getting ready for the Florida weather. The players noticed.
“Muggy, stuffy, hard to breathe – those are all the words that were used,” Harbaugh said, smiling. “I don’t know if there’s any science behind it, but it makes sense to me.”
3. Sunday will be a homecoming for Ravens receiver Kamar Aiken, having his best NFL season.
Aiken is the one Ravens receiver (43 receptions, 536 yards, four touchdowns) who has taken advantage of his opportunity this season. He went to high school in Hollywood, Fla, and to college at Central Florida. He’ll have friends and family in the house, and quarterback Matt Schaub will be looking Aiken’s way.
“Kamar does run crisp routes, and he doesn’t confuse the quarterback with his breaks, and he has shown the ability to have strong hands and go attack the football and not wait on the football,” said Schaub. “You’ve got to love that as a quarterback.”
4. These teams are trending in different directions.
The Dolphins have lost four of their last five. The Ravens have won three of their last four – the lone defeat being the controversial last-play loss to the Jaguars, after a missed call by the officials.
“I don’t think we’re satisfied yet,” said Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil. “But I think we are headed in the right direction.”
5. Both Harbaugh and Schaub have 5-0 career records vs. the Dolphins.
That may not have much bearing on Sunday’s game. But it’s a fact that neither Harbaugh nor Schaub have a problem with.