The Miami Dolphins beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and now, today, it means absolutely nothing other than a notch in the win column. This week, the St. Louis Rams are coming to the stadium and the score is 0-0. In other words, it’s time for the Dolphins to put away the feel good feelings of Sunday and get down to stopping an opponent who is beatable.
The Rams bring a side-story to their visit to Miami. Pinned on the schedule since the coaching search started and ended with Jeff Fisher choosing St. Louis over the Phins, this game was already one that many fans felt needed to be an “in your face Fisher” type of game. The Dolphins will get their chance.
The Rams are a one of a handful of teams who are above .500 so far this season. They are playing in the surprisingly tough NFC West division that boasts the only division in the NFL with four teams above even. In fact, no other NFL division boasts more than two teams with over .500 records. On Sunday, the Dolphins will try and reduce that number in the West by one.
The Rams are not a huge threat to the Dolphins progress. The Dolphins still are the number one ranked defensive unit in the NFL and the Rams are ranked offensively at 22 in rushing. In addition, their passing game has suffered after the loss of possession WR Danny Amendola who was injured a week ago with a clavicle injury. The Rams are ranked 30th in the NFL and will face a Dolphins secondary that is beginning to improve.
The Rams defensively however are ranked 12th against the pass and 18th against the rush and are themselves improving. Holding the previously unbeaten Cardinals to 3 points last Thursday night, the Rams will have an extra few days of rest before making the trip to south Florida. On paper the Rams are a team that the Dolphins should beat but we all know and have seen that the Dolphins don’t always put away teams that they should.
The Dolphins will be attempting to win for the third time this season and in doing so will put them at .500 (after one month of play) for the first time since 2010 when they played the win one lose one scenario most of the season only to lose out in the final three weeks. The victory against the Bengals has likely been forgotten by the team as the begin their prep work for the Rams. It’s likely also unnoticed by the Dolphins fans who still won’t buy into the turnaround and pack the stadium.
The Dolphins will finish this upcoming week before getting their bye week. Fans will have to wait a total of three weeks before the team returns home after the Rams game. This week doesn’t present a huge challenge for the Dolphins physically but mentally the team needs to build upon the way they won last week and work out the kinks of how they lost the two weeks prior. The Dolphins need to have a big game, not necessarily to beat the Rams but to give themselves the confidence going into the bye week and coming back against the New York Jets.
The Rams are not a team to look over and they certainly are not a pushover. Still, the Dolphins, if they expect to start playing at another level, need to learn to beat the teams that they should beat. The Rams are likely thinking the same thing about the Dolphins.