Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich (50) pressures Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Keys To A Miami Dolphin Victory Over New England


Travel back to week 8 of the NFL season where the Miami Dolphins allowed the New England Patriots to claw back from a 17-3 half-time deficit to later on defeat Miami 24-17. This week the Miami Dolphins (7-6) will host the AFC leading New England Patriots (10-3) for the final time this season.

Miami is still in the thick of things for the sixth and final playoff spot out of the AFC, while New England is currently sitting pretty possessing the second seed. That being said, both teams can help or hurt their playoff chances this week. Miami, on one hand, will be looking to either keep even with Baltimore, who owns the tie-breaker over Miami for the final wild card playoff spot, or gain a smidge of breathing room over Baltimore by one game. New England, on the other hand, is stuck between Cincinnati (9-4, the third seed) and Denver (11-3, the first seed). Bottom line, both teams have a lot riding on this game.

 

Obviously, the Patriots will be without all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski, whom was lost for the remainder of the season last week on a hit that Dolphins fans should be quite familiar with. With Gronk out, Tom Brady and co. will have to lean on these young receivers, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola to score a win over the division rival Dolphins.

 

Here are some keys to victory for Miami:

 

—- Run the football with Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller early and often.

Dec 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas (33) rushes the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

Last week Miami was able to pound the rock successfully against a Pittsburgh defense that has done a decent job keeping running backs in check this season. New England’s defense, however, is faltering after the loss of MLB Jerod Mayo and NT Vince Wilfork. This unit allows 135.8 yards per game to opposing teams on the ground, which should be an excellent indicator for Miami offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman…. “RUN THE FOOTBALL!”…

 

Daniel Thomas surprised many last week breaking the century mark with an ankle injury which many thought would sideline the former Kansas State running back for the remainder of the season. Lamar Miller, on the other hand, left last week’s game with a head injury, but will be good to go Sunday against New England. Miller found success in Miami’s last bout with New England, rushing for 89 yards on 18 carries.

 

Look for Miami to pound Thomas inside to set up Miller on the edge. Thomas looked quite good last week in terms of getting the most out of his carries, so I’m expecting Head Coach Joe Philbin to ride with the healthier Thomas for the start.

 

—- Can Miami’s defensive line get Brady “out of his comfort zone”?

Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Jared Odrick (98) celebrates after sacking New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (not pictured) during the third quarterat Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

Brady has always been the type of quarterback who loves to sit back in the pocket and find his receivers with little to no pressure at all. When Brady is at his best, his offensive line gives him exactly what he wants, and puts him in this situation, his ‘comfort zone’ if you will.

 

That being said, Brady typically struggles when hit, pressured, and beat up consistently from start to finish.

 

In their last meeting, Brady completed just 13 passes for 116 yards along with 1 touchdown and interception each. He was also sacked 3 times on the day.

 

Miami’s defense comes into this game ranked 13th against the pass thanks in part to great play from their corner trio of Brent Grimes, Nolan Carroll, and Jimmy Wilson from the nickel position.

 

They also rank 5th in terms of sacks with 40 on the season, 11.5 of those coming from second-year defensive end Olivier Vernon, whom has broken out of his shell this season opposite Cameron Wake. It will be key in this match-up for the trio of Vernon, Wake, and first-round pick Dion Jordan to get constant pressure on Brady, especially with those young receivers.

 

And another important factor could be crowd noise.  SunLife hasn’t had as important a game in quite some time so make sure to grab your Dolphins tickets for Sunday and make Brady as uncomfortable as possible.

 

—- Can this offensive line hold up long enough for Ryan Tannehill?

 

Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) gets to his knees after being sacked during the fourth quarter of their 27-17 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns offensively for Miami this season has been the questionable offensive line. From Jonathan Martin to Richie Incognito to John Jerry to even a guy like Nate Garner, Miami’s offensive line has struggled for the majority of the season holding up for Ryan Tannehill allowing 47 sacks thus far.

 

That has actually changed in recent weeks, however; with the unthinkable unit of Bryant McKinnie, Sam Brenner/Nate Garner, Mike Pouncey, John Jerry/Sam Brenner, and Tyson Clabo this unit has only allowed 3 sacks in it’s past two games.

 

The former unit allowed an astounding 6 sacks in Miami’s previous match-up with New England – many of those were picked up during “garbage time”, however.

 

This offensive line needs to gel together against an under-rated pass rush to give Ryan Tannehill time to find his targets outside. Charles Clay should have a big game against this New England secondary, along with Brian Hartline, who has been hot in recent weeks, and Miami’s big off-season pick-up, Mike Wallace.

 

—- Can you finish, play a full four quarters, and pull off a huge upset over big brother, New England?

 

 

Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick shakes hands with Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin after New England

Like I previously mentioned, Miami had New England beat during their week 8 bout. The squad was up 17-3 at the half and was dominating on all levels. But, of course, Brady was able to rally the troops and take down Miami in the process.

 

Can you finish? Can you play a full game? Can you play all four quarters completely?

 

All questions Miami must answer in this one to be taken seriously as a playoff contender. The conditions are there for Miami to win. They’re at home. They’re in their own element, and they have some swagger. But, can they rally together to take down New England?

 

I’ll tell you, it will take a full team effort, or as Joe Philbin calls it, “A team win”.

 

 

Will Miami pull off a huge upset?

 

This is the question I really have been asking myself for a few weeks now. I’ve been looking forward to it, and no it has nothing to do with the fact that my sister is a Patriots fan.

 

It has huge implications for both teams, which is why I am weary of taking the upset. That being said, I like the way Miami is playing right now. The defense has been showing up, while the offensive line has been able to hold up long enough for Ryan Tannehill to finally find his targets.

 

Prediction:

 

New England: 24

Miami: 27

P.S. Don’t forget to tune in to our newest edition of The Direct Snap this Saturday night at 8:30 PM EST! The show features yours truly and Mr. Joseph Kleine! Like us on facebook by clicking here —–> Right here man! Or follow us on twitter by clicking right here —–> Tweet us!

And if you have never joined us for the show or are just interested in checking it out, here’s our most recent episode! Click here!

 

Tags: Cameron Wake Featured Miami Dolphins New England Patriots Popular Ryan Tannehill Tom Brady

  • Christian Paige

    I know NE is tough but I have never felt more certain about a game then this one. I really feel like it is going to be a blowout!! I know you are shaking your head but it is long over due for both teams!!

    • TylerMcMullen

      Lol a blowout!? Come on man! Haha.

    • tpl

      I pray you are correct. Love to see that.

    • Kazper GetSum James

      I don’t see a blowout but if Tanny can catch Wallace in stride on the deep throws an we can keep them Pats guessing because we got the throwing an running game working we will win an it will be by 10 or more final score….. 31- 20 Miami for the win

    • Paul L. Picken, Jr

      Christian, it’s definitely possible that this game could be a blowout. Miami has grown and changed since the first matchup, and if they can play a complete game again this week, and play like they did in the first half of the previous meeting, the Pats will leave Miami a bit bewildered.

  • tpl

    Hope Daniel Thomas has turned the corner and can run the ball against New England. If Miami is able to run the ball, mix in play action passing, and play keep away from New England, we have a chance.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Oh definitely, tpl. If Miami can successfully establish a running game early on, I think New England’s defense will struggle to stop Miami’s offense. As long as they can play consistently for a full game, they should roll in this one if the run game starts and remains strong.

  • Pingback: MIAMI DOLPHINS NEWS | FinsMob-Exoduss

  • Jcartwright67

    Tyler, you wrote this will be the last time we play NE this season…hope that’s wrong my friend. I’d love to meet them at Gillette sometime in January and have our way with them a second time this season. Yes, my meds are in order! On a serious note; I wrote last week we could go 3-1 on the remaining schedule and this was the game that concerned me most as we would need four quarters of near perfect play to pull out a win at home against NE. I just sense our Phins are up to the task.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Way to catch that! Never even had that on my mind while typing this up! Hopefully I am wrong and we see them again! And yes, this game is by no means a ‘must win’ for Miami, but it certainly would go a long way in helping them out. I think it’s going to be rough for Baltimore to score a win this week over Detroit, therefore a win here would gain a game on them. A loss however, as long as Baltimore drops the ball also, we’re in good shape. Thanks for the input my man! As always :)