The Baltimore Ravens are hoping to revolutionize the NFL with their revamped offense.
So far, they've gained the confidence of oddsmakers.
The Ravens are 6.5 favorites to beat the host Miami Dolphins in the regular-season opener on Sept. 8, according to Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Westgate Las Vegas favors the Ravens by 7 points.
Still, the Ravens are taking nothing for granted. The Dolphins hired a new coach this offseason in Coach Brian Flores, who worked under Bill Belichick in New England.
"We’ve had to take a hard look at the new players they brought in this week," coach John Harbaugh said about facing Miami. "That’s something we’re in the process of doing right now. It’s a big challenge. They have great schemes, excellent coaches and excellent players. We don’t really know what to expect, but I don’t know if you ever really do in your opener. You never know. You expect to get things that are off what you expect, and you just have to apply what you do and try to do as best as you can the way you play the game.”
The decision by Miami to trade left tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills to the Houston Texans for multiple draft picks Aug. 31 moved the line three to four points in favor of Baltimore.
Baltimore has one of the top secondaries in the league and will matchup against Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was named the starter on Aug. 29. Fitzpatrick has faced the Ravens four times over his career, splitting those games at 2-2. He has thrown for 626 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions for an 88.5 rating.
“He’s always played well against us if you go back and look at it, so we have nothing but respect for Ryan Fitzpatrick," Harbaugh said. "He’s been good. He’s proven. He’s had a lot of big games. He opened up [last] season with a couple of 400-yard passing games. He’s a little bit of a swashbuckler, I would say. He’s not afraid to throw it in there, run around. He tries to make plays.
"Every single play, he tries to make a play out of [it]. A lot of times he does, sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he hurts them. We’re hoping we’re able to cause that and do some damage that way. But we have a lot of respect for him. He’s a great pro, and I’m not at all surprised that they chose him to be the starting quarterback.”
The Ravens did lose their two of their top pass rushers -- Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith -- from a defense that finished ranked No. 1 overall in the NFL last season.
The offense, led by quarterback Lamar Jackson, will try to control the clock with a dominant ground attack.
The Ravens lead the all-time regular series against Miami 7-6 and have beaten them twice in the playoffs (2002 and 2009). Baltimore has also won six of the past seven matchups, including a 40-0 win in the most recent regular-season meeting on Oct. 26, 2016.