Journeyman Matt Moore is fresh off a brilliant comeback performance and now will serve as the starting quarterback when the Miami Dolphins visit the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday. Moore came off the bench after Jay Cutler suffered multiple cracked ribs on Sunday to rally Miami from a 14-point deficit and record a 31-28 victory over the New York Jets.
Moore threw two touchdown passes during a 17-point fourth quarter and brings a more boisterous approach than the introverted Cutler, who could miss multiple contests. “It’s an emotional game and I‘m an emotional player,” Moore told reporters on Tuesday, two days prior to making his 29th career regular-season start. “It’s always better when you’re having fun. When you’re kicking the dirt, that’s not the way to do your job. So I try to have a good time.” Miami has won three straight games, so it is experiencing better times than the Ravens, who have allowed an average of 27.6 points while losing four of their last five contests. “I wouldn’t say it’s a must-win,” Baltimore safety Eric Weddle told reporters, “but it’s definitely a big-time game that we need to try and do everything in our power to win.”
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS, NFL Network. LINE: Ravens -3. O/U: 37.5
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (4-2): Running back Jay Ajayi (442 yards) is saddled with a 3.5-yard average that is well below the 4.9 mark of last season’s breakthrough campaign, but he will have a shot at posting his third 100-yard performance of the year against a Baltimore squad that ranks last in the NFL in rushing defense (145.3 yards per game). Moore will try to pump life into a sagging offense that ranks 31st in scoring (15.3 points) and dead last in total offense (261.8 yards) as well as try to make a downfield threat out of receiver Jarvis Landry, who is averaging just 8.1 yards on 45 receptions. Defensive end Cameron Wake has recorded six sacks after posting 2.5 against the Jets, but the defense has made only two interceptions.
ABOUT THE RAVENS (3-4): Baltimore ranks 23rd in the NFL in scoring offense (18.8 points) and 28th in total offense (277.6 yards) while quarterback Joe Flacco has been an underwhelming performer with five touchdown tosses and eight interceptions. “I have to be more consistent,” Flacco told reporters. “That is the name of this game. In order to win the majority of your games, you have to play consistent, and you still probably are going to lose a couple.” Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (team-best 4.5 sacks) is expected to play through a knee injury, while cornerback Brandon Carr has recorded a club-leading three interceptions.
1. The Ravens have won five of the last six regular-season meetings to tie the all-time series at 6-6.
2. Miami signed QB David Fales to serve as Moore’s backup and released disappointing CB Byron Maxwell.
3. Baltimore’s Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are in danger of missing the game due to concussions, while fellow WRs Jeremy Maclin and Michael Campanaro are doubtful with shoulder injuries.
PREDICTION: Dolphins 16, Ravens 13