This Sunday the Miami Dolphins (2-3) will return home after two tough weeks on the road, to face the St. Louis Rams (3-2).
Last Sunday, Miami was able to pull out a big victory against a tough Cincinnati team. Early on in the season, this Miami squad looks tougher than many had thought.
St. Louis is finally having a decent season, after failing to live up to their potential last season. Although this squad is not going to blow you away on offense or defense, the team plays hard football for sixty minutes – meaning, they make the plays when they are need to.
How can Miami win? Here’s a few keys -
-Priority number one is protecting our rookie quarterback. Jake Long, Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey, John Jerry, and Jonathan Martin must bring their A game this week. These five will be facing a defense coming off of a 9-sack performance against the Arizona Cardinals. Chris Long and Robert Quinn may present problems for Miami’s front five.
-Miami’s offense is slowly maturing behind Rookie signal caller, Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has impressed many with his poise in the pocket and his ability to extend plays. Tannehill has been able to hook up with numerous targets each game, showing his mentality of finding the open man. Speaking of targets, Miami’s wide receiving corp will not jump off the page at you, but Brian Hartline (NFL’s leader in receiving yards 514) and Davone Bess (Mr. Third-Down) are quietly producing career years. Hopefully tight ends Anthony Fasano and Charles Clay can present match up issues for this St. Louis defense, who has two very physical corners in Cortland Finnegan and rookie Janoris Jenkins.
-Miami must get their run game going early and often. Reggie Bush came on strong to begin the season, but looks nervous while running now. He needs to get that fire and explosiveness back. Miami will be without second-year running back Daniel Thomas, who will sit this one out after suffering his second concussion of the season last Sunday. Rookie Lamar Miller will takes Thomas’ place on the depth chart – Yes Hurricanes fans, it will be Miller time in Miami once AGAIN! Look for Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman to work a few packages in with Miller and Bush on the field at the same time.
-Speaking of Bush – Can we get him more involved in the passing game? This speedy and tenacious defensive line Miami will be facing, can be caught off guard with screens and draws all day.
-Rams Running Back Steven Jackson has been showing signs of age so far this season – Jackson is having the worst statistical season of his career. The bruit and power Jackson possesses may give Miami’s front seven some issues if they are stuck on the field for 55%+ of the game.
-Make Sam Bradford air it out. Take away Steven Jackson and St. Louis’ run game, forcing their offense to become one-dimensional. If Miami can force Bradford to beat them, this should be a field day for Miami’s secondary.
-Continue solid secondary play. Last week, corners Sean Smith and Nolan Carroll played lights out. Smith was able to stick with one of the league’s premier wide receivers (AJ Green) – Carroll was also able to stick with his man all game. Safeties Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons may have played even better. Both took great angles on ball carriers and did NOT miss any tackles. Miami’s young secondary must step up this week and begin playing lights out on a consistent basis.
-Dan Carpenter, just boot it baby.
-If Miami can run the ball successfully taking the pressure off of Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Tannehill should be able to take over the game and earn his third victory of his young career.
Prediction : St. Louis – 17 Miami – 20
As always, Keep Your Fins UP!!!