The Miami Dolphins know how eleven days of rest can help your team. They came off the same eleven days following the Cowboys game. Now the Philadelphia Eagles return to action following a Thursday night game a week ago that saw them losing to the Seattle Seahawks. In that time, the Eagles have managed to get healthy which will make the Dolphins task of winning that much harder.
Michael Vick returns from a three week absence do to a rib injury. Nnamdi Asomugha is also expected to return as is wide-receiver Jeremy Maclin. While it’s likely that these guys will be a bit rusty out of the gate, having them all active should help the Eagles improve on their play…regardless of whether it translates to a win.
Miami has first hand knowledge of failed “dream team” statements. The Miami Heat failed to bring home an NBA title last season but the Eagles have failed to notch even a .500 record this far. To say they have failed is an understatement. The team itself is falling apart from within. Another loss and the team will likely implode.
The Dolphins will have their hands full, this is an extremely talented team in every facet of the game and winning the battles in the trenches could go a long way to keeping Michael Vick secured in the pocket and his wide-receivers without time to get down-field. Defensively the Dolphins must contain Vick and keep the Eagles number one running back, LeSean McCoy, behind the line. McCoy is a dangerous runner and a dangerous receiver and may be the best running back they have faced all season. Stopping this portion of the Eagles offense will make it easier on the defensive backs.
For Miami’s offense, it’s a different story. Matt Moore will need time to pick apart a reeling Philly secondary that boasts some of the top players in the game including the aforementioned Asomugha and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. As well as Asante Samuel. Despite the names, the Eagles defense has been open to big yardage both on the ground and through the air.
Reggie Bush will need to be on his game as well. Taking control of the outside perimeter will allow Brian Daboll to utilize both Bush and Daniel Thomas in the same formations adding an element of confusion to the Eagle defensive front. If the Dolphins can get the matches they want on Bush, they should be able to move the ball down the field. On the outside, Brandon Marshall will be matched up with Asomugha which may limit Matt Moore’s options. Look for the Dolphins to get the TE’s involved more as the wide-receivers may be shut down, especially in long third downs.
To beat the Eagles the Dolphins need to be aggressive and take the game to them. Dominating on both sides of the ball will force the Eagles to play the Dolphins style and not the other way around. If the Eagles can get the Dolphins on their heals, they will have a real shot at ending their losing streak. For Miami, this game will further put pressure on owner Stephen Ross to keep Tony Sparano if the team wins or the game is incredibly close.
The Dolphins have won four of their last five games and have done so with three of those game having plus 30 points scored. Their only loss a last second 1 point win by Dallas.