This Thursday the Miami Dolphins begin the hardest stretch in their schedule. They start this stretch against the Patriots in New England. We all know the Patriots are probably the best team in the NFL right now, but there is a clear argument as to why Miami is the team to tarnish the Patriots perfect record.
First off, Miami is eager to prove themselves to their rival teams in the NFL. Second, this game is important if Miami hopes to be in the playoff hunt. Third, they have been playing at a level like the 1972 Miami Dolphins team. This team looks like it cannot be beat.
Right now, the Dolphins appear to be a nearly flawless team on tape. The Patriots, on the other hand, had the New York Jets challenge them last week and if it wasn’t for a key drop by Brandon Marshall, the Jets might have come out with a victory over New England. The reason the Jets were able to contend with the Patriots was because Ryan Fitzpatrick, quarterback of the Jets, was able to get the ball out of his hand quickly to his two favorite targets, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. Ryan Tannehill has to be that kind of quarterback tonight. Against the Houston Texans last weekend, Tannehill was that quarterback and he completed nearly all of his passes. He also broke Donovan Mcnabb’s record of most consecutive passes completed. Lamar Miller will also be a major factor in this game. Last weekend the Patriots held the Jets running back, Chris Ivory, to 41 yards on 17 attempts making his average 2.41 yards a carry. The Dolphins must find a way to get Lamar Miller going and I think that is going to come from the passion that this offense has been playing with so far. The offensive line-men are going to have to out muscle the Patriots D-Line and Lamar Miller is going to have to fight for yards on every carry. As long as the running game continues to be a success and if Tannehill can get the ball out of his hands quickly and let his receivers make the plays like they did last week, the Dolphins Offense should be fine.
The biggest challenge the Dolphins will face tonight is stopping Brady and his offense. The Dolphins cannot afford to blitz Brady because that leaves one on one coverage with his receivers like Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. Blitzing him will also allow Brady to dump a 5 yard pass over the top to Edelman, or Danny Amendola that they can easily turn up field and make it a 15 yard gain. The Dolphins are going to have to apply pressure with their front four. Luckily the Dolphins have two of the best pass rushers in the league. Cameron Wake is racking up sacks in his last two games and Ndamukong Suh is finally growing into his role as a leader for the defense and is getting familiar with the defense’s chemistry. Only rushing 4 is going to leave Brady some time that he doesn’t often see. This could work, in that it throws Brady off a bit, but I doubt a veteran quarterback like him will be thrown off by small change in a game plan. The Dolphins secondary, which has looked good so far is going to have to stay tight with their coverage. Brady is also marvelous when he decides to go deep. His accuracy is there every time. The Dolphins secondary is young and has a few second stringers that could get mixed up and miscommunicate with each other. It is critical that the Dolphins secondary continues to play great.
If the Dolphins bring that toughness and passion with them to New England I honestly do not see them losing. If Miami can take an early lead, run the offensive like they have, and play conservatively against Brady I think they will beat the Patriots 43 to 36.