On Sunday, the Dolphins will travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to face the rising Indianapolis Colts. Both teams are 4-3, second in their respective divisons, and have the ability to make the playoffs. Many things are riding on this game, ranging from the possible winner of Offensive Rookie of the Year (Tannehill vs. Luck) to a three game Miami Dolphins winning streak. In my opinion, in order for the Phins to come out of Indy with a win against the Colts, I see three key elements that the Dolphins have to incorporate.
1. Pressure Rookie QB Andrew Luck. Andrew Luck is already a good NFL quarterback. However, he is still in the learning phase and is at his worst (like any other quarterback except maybe Ben Roethlisberger) when under pressure. Last week, Luck led the Colts to an OT win against the Titans with a great drive for a touchdown. One thing the Titans failed to do on the final drive of the game was pressure Luck. The Dolphins have been a stellar pass rushing team during their 3 game winning streak, and gave Sanchez fits last week with unique blitzing schemes. Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle needs to keep the pressure coming all day long to take away Luck’s time and force him to make errant throws.
2. Ground and Pound. Aside from about six minutes in the second quarter against the Texans, Miami has played great football this season. One thing they need to get going this week is their running game. The Colts run defense ranks 27th in the league, giving up 137.4 yards a game and 1.2 rushing touchdowns a game. Miami’s rushing offense is too good not to take advantage of the Colts’ medicore run defense. Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman needs to hit INDY hard with Daniel Thomas, and use Reggie Bush and Lamar Miller in open space. Whoever is lining up under center for the Phins could use a potent rush offense.
3. Mistake free QB play. With Tannehill’s quad and knee injuries, we could very well be seeing Matt Moore call the shots this Sunday. Last week against the Jets, Moore proved his success last year was not a fluke, and played mistake free football in his three quarters. Whether it’s Tannehill, Moore, or even Pat Devlin under center on Sunday, mistake free football from the quarterback position will be crucial. If the Dolphins can limit their mistakes on offense and not beat themselves, their odds against the Colts increase tremendously.
The Dolphins go into Indy with a great chance at a 5-3 record and a huge conference win against a potential rival for a playoff spot. Both teams are on the rise and shocking critics who deemed both organizations in the “rebuilding stage.” Many experts predicted the Dolphins and the Colts to have losing records at this point in the season, and almost no experts gave either team a chance at making the playoffs. This should make for an exciting game, especially if Tannehill is healthy and we get to see the two rookie quarterbacks gun it out. Prediction: Reggie Bush rushes for 125 yards and 2 scores as the Dolphins beat the Colts 27-20. FINS UP!