This Sunday the Miami Dolphins will visit the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in a battle of 4-3 teams. Both teams are quite a pleasant surprise this season after being written off as two of the worst teams in the league.
Miami is looking to gain on the momentum that the team has picked up in recent weeks riding a three-game win streak. Indianapolis, on the other hand, will look to keep themselves in the running for an AFC Wild-Card birth.
If Miami is to win on Sunday, the team must take advantage of a few match-ups…
1. Run Reggie, run.
First off, take a look at this 59-yard touchdown scamper by Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
MJD was able to burst through the line of scrimmage untouched against this Indianapolis defense. Therefore, I think you know what this segment is going to be about…
Miami needs to get running back Reggie Bush the ball early and often in this match-up. Bush, who started the year on fire, has cooled off in recent weeks failing to top 70 yards on the ground in the past five weeks. All of that being said, the Dolphins still boast one of the league’s top rushing attacks averaging 115.9 yards per game – good for 11th best in the NFL. A combination of Bush and second-year bruiser, Daniel Thomas, has been the Dolphins key to success on offense this season. Indianapolis comes in with one of the league’s worst run defenses allowing 137.4 yards per game (27th in the NFL). If Miami can get Bush in space to take advantage of Indianapolis’ weak run defense, the Dolphins should rack up rushing yards by will.
2. Kevin Coyle, bring the heat.
Rookie Quarterback Andrew Luck has been one of the league’s best signal callers so far in this young season. Luck has thrown for over 250 yards in five of seven games, and for over 300 in three of those five. Bottom line, Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians is not afraid to let his rookie quarterback sling it. Miami has one of the league’s worst secondaries, but the unit has played better in recent weeks. Miami can take some pressure off their secondary by implementing designed blitzes to force the rookie quarterback to make mistakes.
Take a look here:
The Jets are able to force the rookie out of the pocket and try to fit the football into a tight window deep in the end zone.
Defensive End Cameron Wake has come on in recent weeks. Wake will be facing Winston Justice Sunday, who has actually played well this season. Justice will have to keep up his stellar play if Indy has any hopes of winning. Miami’s third-round selection, Olivier Vernon, has also turned the corner in this young season. The rookie out of the University of Miami was named the AFC Special Teams player of the week last week for his incredible performance against the rival New York Jets (1 special teams touchdown, 1 blocked field goal). Vernon has impressed many with his versatility – the rookie is the wild-card of this defense, seeing playing time at both outside linebacker and defensive end – Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle must take advantage of his versatile pass rushing unit.
3. Mike Sherman, attack down field.
The Colts only surrender an average of 213 yards per game to opposing teams, but the defense is quite susceptible to big plays down field. Take a look at a simple go-route by Bears rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey during week 1…
Miami should be able to take advantage of this match-up by utilizing the play-action game, similar to the way they did against the Arizona Cardinals. The Dolphins do not possess the big receivers that Chicago does, but the Phins have a capable stable of receivers. Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are the “big names” of this unit, but expect to see more of Jabar Gaffney – who saw some game action last weekend reeling in his first reception of the season. With Bess typically working from the slot, Gaffney and Hartline will look to take the top off of the defense – meaning both receivers will be the deep threats on play-action plays or when the team gains momentum. If Miami can get Gaffney going in this game, it will only boost rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s confidence.
Miami’s offense is most certainly not over-powering, neither is Indianapolis’ offense. Both teams match-up quite well on paper, but I am giving Miami a slight edge in this one based upon their stout defense and special teams.
Miami – 24 Indianapolis – 21
As always, Keep Your Fins Up!!!
——ALL STATISTICS TAKEN FROM NFL.COM——