In next Monday’s battle of undefeated teams on ESPN, I think we can expect to see a high intensity, high scoring football game. Both Miami and New Orleans have figured out their offenses and have put up points in their past couple games. While attacking both quarterbacks and making plays in the secondary will be crucial, this game will undoubtedly come down to who can score more when it matters most. While both offenses are potent and possess both speed and talent, the one advantage the Saints have over Miami is at the tight end position, where they boast one of the league’s best in Jimmy Graham.
If you know Dolphins’ football, then you know how much the defense strugglse against good tight ends. Take for example last year’s duo of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, who shredded Miami’s secondary on two separate occasions. Granted, Miami’s secondary and defense as a whole is much improved, but they still have their bad moments against tight ends, and Graham is scary good. Through just 3 games this season, Graham already has 23 receptions for 358 yards and 4 TD’s. The Dolphins as a team have 4 total TD receptions thus far. You get the point. Graham is a beast and is easily Drew Brees’ favorite target.
Look for Miami to double team Graham at times and to constantly put pressure on Brees to prevent him from acquiring a rhythm. While Graham is a great player, he is the lone superstar receiver the Saints have (although Colston is pretty darn good too). Shutting down Graham will help Miami manage what is an extremely dangerous gold and black offense. If we can figure out how to slow down we won’t be able to completely stop them the big TE and Brees – completely stopping them is almost impossible, then Miami will find itself in another winnable game, and a chance at 4-0.