he Miami Dolphins will kick-off their 1:00 pm game today against the St. Louis Rams with hopes of joining the .500 club. With Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas making a half-time appearance to have their names forever enshrined in the Dolphins “Ring of Honor” the Dolphins will attempt to enter the bye week on a high-note. In order to achieve that goal, they will need to face a daunting defense that has quietly improved week to week.
The Dolphins could enter the bye-week at .500 at 3-3 and are the only team at .500 who legitimately could claim to be two field goals away from 5-1. Facing two overtime losses back to back, the Dolphins rebounded last week in an away victory against the Cincinnati Bengals that have fans talking more about how they won than how they lost their previous two’s.
With a fourth quarter lead on the line, the Dolphins finally found a way to put the game away by a strong defensive effort. Today, they will need to find a strong offensive effort against a front seven that is good against the run and better at getting pressure on the quarterback. As evidenced by the image used for this article, the Dolphins face a team that is statistically lacking in the rank and file of the NFL. However, their improvement week to week can not be denied.
The Rams are sixth in the NFL in sacks, something the Dolphins have struggled with in the last few weeks of the season. Picking up the blocking along then offensive line will go a long way to giving Ryan Tannehill the kind of time he needs to pick the St. Louis secondary apart. The Dolphins will likely use more of the same RB’s out of the back-field today to keep the Rams linebackers out of Ryan Tannehill’s face.
Perhaps the biggest question is whether or not the Miami Dolphins young and
poorly getting better wide-receivers can keep their cool when faced with the trash talking cheap shot play of Rams CB Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan has been touted as one of the dirtiest players in the NFL and he more than likely take as many shots on the Dolphins wide-receivers as he can get throughout the game.
The Rams on offense are not as scary as the teams the Dolphins have faced in the last few weeks. They have an aging running back in Steven Jackson and the loss of WR Danny Amendola has left the team without a reliable and tested wide-out. The Dolphins improving secondary must take this opportunity to continue their progress and not let up. The Dolphins are starting to find a rhythm in a back-field devoid of start power and will once again be without corner Richard Marshall.
Still, the Dolphins have managed to keep Andre’ Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and A.J. Green shut down or at the very least in check. With the number one rushing defense in the NFL, expect the Dolphins secondary to be tested often by the Rams and Sam Bradford. Regardless of the statistics, this game is likely to come down to defensive play. The Rams have beaten the Seattle Seahawk‘s and last week ended the opening perfect run of the Arizona Cardinals shutting their offense down to the three points.
The side note to this game is the match-up of coaches. The Dolphins were shunned by Rams coach Jeff Fisher after a week long courtship that became similar to the Lebron James “Decision”. Rumors abounded that Fisher had chosen Miami, then the Rams, then Miami and back again. After his decision was made officially, the talk of yet another blunder by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and the fact that Ross would not give full control to Fisher and strip that power from Jeff Ireland was close to a volcanic eruption fit from fans.
Fisher said he chose the Rams because he felt they had a better QB situation and gave him more of an opportunity to find quicker success with players already in place to build around. The Dolphins opted for Joe Philbin as their fall back and so far Philbin has proven to be a solid choice. The answer of who has the better team, who is the better coach, and who will bring their team long term success will still play out over years not quarters. Today however, the Dolphins players can make a statement that Joe Philbin, for today, was the better choice for Stephen Ross.
The game kicks off at 1:00 pm join us for our live gameday chat!