A student from Harvard just released an article that predicted that the Miami Dolphins would reach the playoffs in 2015.
The Dolphins open against the Washington Redskins, where they will be solid road favorites. They should have no problem defeating them. Some people are predicting the second game at Jacksonville could be a trap game due to how weak the Jags have been. This view is supported further because the Fins are playing a team the following week it has struggled to consistently beat, the Bills. I disagree. The Fins will be 5-0 going into a two game stretch that I believe to be the most important point in the season. Let’s take a look.
I know the article said most important game, singular, but it’s actually two games that are back-to-back. The first game is against Houston. The Fins are 0-7 against the Texans. The game is important from a conference angle, but Miami MUST get this monkey off their back for confidence reasons. They will be coming into this game 5-0, confident, at home. So, I’m predicting pre-season in July that they finally take care of business and beat this team. Where this becomes an issue is in the process of getting this monkey off their back, how much will Miami have left for the next opponent, on the road against the Pats .
Miami will get a huge dose of the Houston run game thanks to Arian Foster and will be coming into the Pats game emotionally and psychologically spent. Getting up for the game is a given, the AFC championship has been running through the Pats fairly often since Brady took the helm (six times to be exact).
The real question, will Miami be able to sustain their energy? Several factors can provide this energy from a game strategy. First, the pass rush must be on point. If the pass rush of Wake, Olivier and Suh can pressure Brady, I believe the NE QB struggles enough for the Dolphins to hold them down points wise. The leadership and improved deep ball of Ryan Tannehill will key another source of energy for the team. Nothing takes the air out of a defense like a 40-yard play. I believe the new WR Stills and the rookie Parker will be able to get behind the NE secondary and fight for balls that were uncontested in years past( I don’t miss you Mike Wallace, Brandon Marshall!). .
The revamped Fins offense will put enough points on the board and nail another psychological edge by owning sole possession of first place in the AFC East. .
So there you have it, the most important stretch for the Fins is home against Houston and on the road the next week at the Pats. If they negotiate this dangerous stretch 2-0, the NFL will be put on notice about this hungry team from Miami .