1. Prepare for a Shootout.
After the low-scoring defensive struggle last Sunday agains the Ravens, the Miami Dolphins have to shift gears to prepare for their primetime matchup against the NY Giants. The Giants are coming off a crushing overtime loss to the New York Jets, and they desperately need a victory to keep their NFC East title hopes alive. On the season, both the Dolphins and the Giants have struggled tremendously on defense. Even though Miami and New York only gave up 23 and 13 points respectively last week, their season totals are abysmal. The Dolphins rank 29th and the Giants rank 31st in total yards allowed, and the Dolphins rank 22nd and the Giants 32nd in total passing yards allowed. We are set up for an high-octane showdown between Ryan Tannehill and Eli Manning. The Miami offense cannot afford three and outs or turnovers early, and the Miami defense must not let the score discourage them from playing hard in the fourth quarter even if they struggle early. Reshad Jones came up with a big interception last week and the Dolphins got two turnovers off a steady pass rush, but that was against an injury depleted Raven offense.This game will come down to who can keep up offensively and who is able to get that one or two crucial stop or turnover to win the game.
2. Air it Out.
Ryan Tannehill has had the epitome of an up-and-down season throwing the ball, but this week coming off a game against the Ravens where he only threw for 86 yards he will have to bounce back in a big way. At times Tannehill has looked great throwing the ball this season and overall his season totals of a 61.4% completion rate, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions are respectable. Throughout the season, Tannehill has also looked lost in the offense and completely ineffective, but this week against the Giants he will be able to showcase his skills. Considering the New Orleans Saints’ defense is on pace for being the worst of all time, and the fact that the New York Giants are ranked 32nd in pass defense one spot behind the inept Saints, the Dolphins' passing attack should have a field day. Jarvis Landry, who is playing his college teammate Odell Beckham Jr., is poised to have a coming out party on the national stage of a Monday Night game. The Giants' secondary has been torched all season and if they are unable to come up with the occasional interception they have struggled to contain their opponents receivers. The pass rush has also only yielded 15 sacks on the season so Tannehill should have a clean pocket to throw from, although Jason Pierre-Paul played better last week against the Jets. Giants average giving up 327 yards a game to opposing quarterbacks and with Jarvis Landry, Jordan Cameron, and the emergence of rookie DeVante Parker the Dolphin offense should sling the ball all over the field with success Monday Night against the Giants.
3. Get DeVante Parker Involved.
Dolphin fas have been waiting all season to see their first round pick DeVante Parker live up to the offseason hype. Parker’s rookie season has been hampered by a nagging foot injury that has kept him off the field and out of the wide receiver rotation. Until Sunday when Rishard Matthews was sidelined with a rib injury Parker was given the start at X. In his first career start Parker caught 3 of his 5 targets for 63 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens. Parker used his 6-3 frame and high-pointed a 38 yard Tannehill throw for the games only offensive touchdown by the Dolphins. Parker has a rare combination of size, strength, and athleticism and has the raw talent and potential to become a go-to receiver in this league. During his college career and Louisville, Parker had a nose for the end zone and his height and physicality now only allowed him to make deep catches in coverage, like he did on Sunday, but also be an effective redzone target. Monday Night against the Giants porous secondary that will focus their attention on containing Jarvis Landry, Parker will have an opportunity to have a big game.
4. Contain Dwayne Harris.
Dwayne Harris coming over from Dallas in the offseason has developed into a weapon for the New York Giants. Whether it be as the occasional second option to Odell Beckham Jr. in the receiving game or as a dangerous home-run hitter in the return game, his speed can be lethal. Last week he returned a punt for an 80 yard touchdown and the Dolphin’s need to be careful in their kick coverage and not allow him to blow the top off the defense when he lines up at wideout.
5. Keep it Close Going into the Fourth Quarter
The New York Giants sitting at a 6-6 record and a tight race for the NFC East division title could have made their season a lot less stressful down the stretch had they not blown 5 fourth quarter leads. Whether it be poor clock management, an often torched secondary, or just loss of effort and focus at the end of games the Giants time and again have watched their lead and victory disappear in the final fifteen minutes. The Dolphins have had moments this season of winning close games in the fourth quarter, and have an ample opportunity this week to clinch a victory late agains the inopportune Giants.