GAME DATE: 12/16/07
TV: CBS, Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
SERIES: 7th meeting. Ravens trail in the series, 4-2. The Ravens are 1-3 in Miami, but they won the only playoff meeting in January 2002. The Ravens won the last meeting, 30-23 in Baltimore in the 2004 season finale. Relying on a battering-ram running game and a ball-hawking defense, the Ravens were at their best, rolling out to a 27-7 lead early in the third quarter. Jamal Lewis grinded out 167 rushing yards, and the defense made three interceptions.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Ravens are 0-9 when they don't score first, so a good start is imperative on the road even against a winless opponent. Baltimore should be able to run the ball against Miami's last-ranked run defense, but the Ravens still need QB Kyle Boller to make good reads and avoid the game-changing turnovers that have plagued him. ... It's never a good sign when you turn to a quarterback who is 0-4 with three TDs, six INTs and a 65.5 passer rating in search of a "spark." But that's what Dolphins coach Cam Cameron is looking for from Cleo Lemon. RB Samkon Gado is expected to start against a Ravens defense that hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 16 games, so Lemon is going to have to do damage through the air against Baltimore's banged up secondary.
KEY INJURIES: Ravens: CB Chris McAlister (knee) was placed on injured reserve; TE Todd Heap (hamstring) appears to be out again; CB Samari Rolle (shoulder) is uncertain. Dolphins: MLB Channing Crowder (foot) will miss his second straight game; RB Jesse Chatman (ankle sprain) is still limited.
FAST FACTS: The Ravens lead the league with 35 turnovers after tying a franchise record-low with 23 last season. They are also on pace to tie a franchise low with 22 takeaways. ... The Dolphins' last TD pass came from Lemon to WR Ted Ginn, Jr. on Oct. 28.
-- TE Todd Heap is expected to be sidelined for the eighth time in 10 games with a hamstring injury. He has said he still wants to try and play in the final two games of the season. He will be replaced by Daniel Wilcox.
-- CB Samari Rolle missed his second straight practice with a shoulder injury, which is not an encouraging sign. He is expected to be sidelined Sunday and be replaced by Derrick Martin.
-- CB Derrick Martin is expected to start in place of Samari Rolle on Sunday. Rolle has missed two practices with a shoulder injury.
-- RB Willis McGahee was added to the injury report Thursday with a foot injury. This should not limit him for Sunday. The Ravens are expected to rely on McGahee heavily against the Dolphins, who have the league's worst run defense.
-- NT Kelly Gregg had a full practice after being limited Wednesday. He is expected to start Sunday and is one of the big keys in the Ravens run defense.
-- S Ed Reed was added to the injury report Thursday with a hip injury. But this won't hinder him Sunday. He has had this injury for weeks and he has played every game.
-- RB Jesse Chatman will most likely not be 100 percent for the rest of the season as he hasn't given his sprained ankle enough rest to fully heal. Expect Samkon Gado to receive the bulk of the snaps against a tough Ravens run defense (ranked third).
-- DT Keith Traylor returned to practice Thursday and will play Sunday. He'll be needed to help plug running lanes so RB Willis McGahee doesn't get off.
-- DT Vonnie Holliday is at the point where he is being saved for game day so his ankle doesn't swell up during the week. But he did practice on a limited basis.
-- MLB Channing Crowder has a foot injury that isn't responding to treatment. He missed last week's loss to the Bills and he's not going to play this week against the Ravens.
-- MLB Donnie Spragan will fill in for Crowder, who was filling in for Zach Thomas. Derrick Pople will play Crowder's old spot on the weak side, and undrafted rookie Edmond Miles is expected to see some time in the base defense.
-- DE Matt Roth (groin) is practicing on a limited basis.