DOLPHINS (4-2) AT RAVENS (3-4)
Ravens by 3; O/U: 37
TV: Ch. 2, NFL; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
When a team loses its starting quarterback, more or less, it’s full-on panic mode. That rule doesn’t apply to the Dolphins, though. For them, less Jay Cutler means more Matt Moore, and he provided a big spark last week.
Moore will be the starter Thursday night as Miami travels to Baltimore in a battle of the NFL’s lowest-scoring offenses. This is an important game, because if either is to make the playoffs, the wild card is realistically the only route with the Patriots and Steelers atop the divisions.
More on Moore: After the Jets knocked out Cutler, Moore led Miami to a 31-28 win after entering with a 28-14 deficit. He threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns as the Dolphins made it back-to-back fourth-quarter comebacks. The out-of-nowhere rally in Atlanta, coupled with last week’s thriller, are the kind of confidence-building games that can really catapult a team.
This is a strange Dolphins team. They’re 4-2 despite averaging an NFL-worst 15.3 points per game with the fewest yards (261.8). Their four wins have been by 2, 6, 3 and 3 points, with their two losses by 14 and 20. But the 33-year-old Moore, who has a 15-13 career record, could get the Dolphins’ offense into more of a rhythm. Remember, he stepped in late last season when Ryan Tannehill got hurt and helped Miami clinch a wild-card spot.
The Ravens’ offense has been out of tune for much of the season. Baltimore has lost four of five and averages the second-fewest points per game at 18.6. Joe Flacco & Co. just can’t seem to get anything going. Baltimore is 1-2 at home, so home field is not an edge, either.
This feels like a field-goal game, so expect to see a lot of Justin Tucker (13-for-15) and Cody Parkey (8-for-8). In the end, a Dolphins team riding a three-game win streak will find a way to win one more, thanks to Moore.
The pick: Dolphins
Calvin Watkins: Dolphins
Tom Rock: Ravens
Bob Glauber: Ravens