Game Preview: Miami at Baltimore

The Dolphins wrap up the first half of the regular season Sunday when they take on the Baltimore Ravens. They'll be looking to continue their remarkable start on the road in 2010. More importantly, a victory over the 5-2 Ravens clearly would establish Miami as a strong postseason candidate. We break down the matchup.

WHO: Miami Dolphins (4-3) at Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

SITE: M&T Bank Stadium

SURFACE: FieldTurf

TV: CBS, Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf

PREDICTION: Ravens, 25-22

KEYS TO THE GAME: Two of the NFL's top 10 defenses expect to be tested. The Dolphins have been solid with the exception of occasional blown coverage. If OLBs Cameron Wake and Koa Misi get around the corner and make QB Joe Flacco antsy, the Dolphins could improve to 5-0 on the road. But Miami has to move the ball -- and score points -- facing a rejuvenated bunch of Ravens buoyed by the return of S Ed Reed. Reed can take away many of short and underneath routes QB Chad Henne throws to WRs Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess. If the Dolphins counter by running Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, the Ravens can crowd the line and force Henne to do something the Dolphins simply don't do -- hit the deep routes on the passing tree.

FAST FACTS: Henne is 7-3 as a starter on the road. ... Baltimore has won seven consecutive home games.

PERSONNEL NEWS

Dolphins

-- CB Nate Ness was claimed off waivers from the Seahawks and CB Evan Oglesby was released to clear a roster spot. Coach Tony Sparano said Ness would have a key role on special teams and will continue to focus on playing corner, which the former University of Arizona product began to pick up this offseason after breaking in as a safety last year.

-- RB Patrick Cobbs, the special teams captain, did not practice Thursday due to a hamstring issue but was a limited participant on Friday and he's listed as questionable for the game. Cobbs is the Dolphins' primary kickoff returner and a key part of each coverage unit. He also gets the occasional ball thrown to him as a third-down weapon. If Cobbs can't play Sunday, rookie CB Nolan Carroll could reclaim kickoff return duties that he held for 2 1/2 games before injuring his left ankle against the Steelers in Game 6. Carroll appears recovered after missing Sunday's win at Cincinnati.

-- DL Ryan Baker was compared to "an amoeba" by coach Tony Sparano for the way the 300-pounder makes it hard for him to stay blocked. Baker saw about 23 plays of action at Cincinnati, Sparano said, including his roles on special teams. No matter the assignment, Sparano said, Baker will give you "200 percent."

-- With starting strong safety Yeremiah Bell (toe) still limited, rookie backup FS Reshad Jones moved over and took some of his reps at Thursday's practice. Tyrone Culver, the backup strong safety, had a "good game" on Sunday, Sparano said, especially in the area of back-line communication.


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