Guest blogger Brant Houghton from Playoffboundsports has submitted his early preview of the Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts week 2 match-up. You can read the opening week preview at his site and feel free to submit suggestions for a title to his preview. You can reach him at [email protected]
In the 2nd segment of what has yet to be named, we will break down the key factors in the Week 2 Monday Night Football match-up between theIndianapolis Colts, and the Miami Dolphins. The Colts of course posses the single most prolific weapon in the game today, Peyton Manning. Manning has lost the better part of his coaching staff, and his favorite receiver in Marvin Harrison. That does not mean that Manning will be any less effective, or dangerous.
Series History: Dolphins lead series all-time 46-23.
Last Matchup: Dolphins lost 27-22 in 2006.
Current Matchup Location: LandShark Stadium, Miami, Florida
Date and Time: Monday, Seprtember 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm eastern time.
Looking Glass: Offense: Led by quarterback Peyton Manning, the Colts again will host a prolific offensive squad that will be solid at least in every category. Joseph Addia looks to bounce back from a terrible season, and the Colts drafted running back Donald Brown for insurance. Brown will fit in well with the one-cut system that the Colts employ. The wide receivers took a big blow when they lost Marvin Harrison to free agency. Nobody has signed Harrison, but the Colts released him nevertheless. Manning still has Reggie Wayne, and Anthony Gonzalez to lean on, both who have had major success in the system. The offensive line looks to have a stable year after playing with several different combinations over the course of the season due to injuries. Dallas Clark looks to improve on his stellar season last year. Clark will be one of the top options for Manning after a break-out season.
In order to keep the game close, the Dolphins will need to force Manning to run out of the pocket. I’m comfortable with letting our corners defend the Colts receivers while Manning is on the run. If the Dolphins can disrupt Manning, then they can keep the game close enough to win. Also, if the Dolphins intercept Manning at least once or twice, then they will win the game.
Looking Glass: Defense: The defense is led by safety Bob Sanders. Without Sanders, the Colts are just a regular defense, who cannot defend against the run. Up front, the Colts have pass-rushers Dwight Freeney, and Robert Mathis. In the middle of the line, they feature newly drafted tackle, Fili Moala, who will compete for a starting spot straight out of college. Competing with Moala will be KeYunta Dawson, Eric Foster, andAntonio Johnson. The linebackers feature some solid playmakers in Gary Brackett, and Clint Sessions. Phillip Wheeler will most likely start at the strong side linebacker. The play of the linebackers will be the key to the defense. If they can stop the run, and get goof penetration on the quarterbacks, then they will succeed. If they fail to do those things, then they will have a rough time. The secondary is above average with Sanders leading the pack, and corners Kelvin Hayden, and Marlin Jackson shutting down the pass on the edges. Antoine Bethea starts at the other safety position, and complements Sanders perfectly. The defense could easily shut-down teams, but they could easily gibe up 30-40 points if they fail to stop the run.
The Dolphins will need to run the ball to be effective, and with Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, and Patrick Cobbs, the Dolphins feature a 3-headed monster that could control the game. Pat White will also be a factor in the WildCat.
Looking Glass: Special Teams: The Colts have a clutch kicker in Adam Vinatieri, and feature a solid return and coverage teams. The Colts often win the battle of field position, due to their players making quick decisions running down the field. The Colts do not possess a super-star return man, but T.J. Rushing gets the job done.
With the Dolphins weapons including Patrick Cobbs, Erik Walden, and Ted Ginn Jr., the Dolphins should win the battle of field position easily, if they perform like they were at the end of the season.
X-Factor: Colts: Bob Sanders- If Sanders can help stop the run, and shut down the WildCat, then the Colts should have no problem playing their game, and controlling the ball and eating up the clock. The Dolphins could easily win the game if they break a couple of long runs for touchdowns.
X-Factor: Dolphins- Ronnie Brown- If Brown can get the job done and do to the Colts what he did to the Patriots last year, then the Dolphins will compete with the Colts and come out of the game with the W. The key to the game will to be running the ball
With the Dolphins having to face the Colts right after the Falcons, the Dolphins have the chance to shut up all of the doubters by Week 2. It will be a tough task, but if the Dolphins play their game, in running the ball and controlling the game with short passes, and hold Manning to within reason, the Dolphins should be victorious. This is the first prime-time game in the regular season since the Monday Night game in Pittsburgh in 2007. The score in that game was 3-0 Steelers.