In our first look at the Miami Dolphins schedule I predicted the 4 games that would be held in September. In this 2nd part, I will examine the 4 games that are scheduled for the month of October, including of course the London, England game at the new Wembley Stadium.
In my predictions, the Dolphins are 4-0 heading into the month of October.
Miami @ Houston:
"This is a rematch of a game that the Dolphins should have won last year. They should win this game again this year. The Texans offense has made one change this past off-season of any real concern, the acquisition of former Falcon back-up Matt Schaub. By now Schaub should have a better feel for the offense. However, the Texans are coming off what could be a very poor start. They face the Chiefs, Panthers, Colts, and Falcons in the first 4 games. By now, new RB Ahman Green could be injured, that is not a joke. The Dolphins defense should be able to handle the Texans offense with our without A. Green. The problem will be in the vertical attack where the Fins DBs will have to cover Andre Johnson and likely starter Andre’ Davis. With a heavy dose of Joey Porter, Jason Taylor, and Matt Roth, the Fins should be able to put enough pressure on Schaub to keep the Texans out of the endzone."
"The Dolphins offensive line will by now had enough time to really get into a good flow. They will however face Mario Williams coming into his 2nd year and Demeco Ryans. Omobi Okoye is already the penciled in starter on the D-line as a rookie. The Line will be the key to this game. If Trent Green gets enough time to allow plays to develop, the Dolphins should win this game. Ronnie Brown, not Lorenzo Booker will be the guy that is needed more. Wearing down the Houston defensive front is imperative. On the outside, Chambers must produce if the Dolphins have a chance at scoring. Once again, David Marten could be the key to the passing game."
"Miami 15 – Houston 7 Try as I may, I can not see the Texans putting up a lot of points unless the Dolphins front 7 get handled by the Texans O-line."
Miami @ Cleveland:
"The Browns are a wreck and new QB Brady Quinn is not showing a single ounce of mini-camp consistency…even for a rookie. The other QBs are spotty at best. Will it be Quinn, Derek Anderson, or Charlie Frye? The problem is that by this game, any one of those 3 could be scheduled to start.The Browns have tried very hard to shore up an O-line that has been destroyed by yearly injuries. It has improved but not by a lot. The biggest addition, Jamal Lewis is the key to the Browns success this year. He can take pressure off of the QB by giving the Browns a solid rushing threat. The problem is, again the O-line. The Miami defense should have a huge game barring a mental breakdown that we witnessed in Cleveland a few years back. Will Allen will likely be going “Mano-y-Mano” with Braylon Edwards and with significant pressure on the QB, he could see more than a couple chances at an INT. I look for Yeremiah Bell to have the biggest impact in this game if the Defense shuts down the Browns offense like it should. Jason Taylor should also have a big game as by now, Porters presence and the emergence of Matt Roth should take some pressure off of his side."
"The only name that jumps off the screen on the Cleveland defense is Willie McGinnest, but that is of course due to the fact we saw him 2 times a year in NE. The Browns defense can be productive at times but they are inconsistent. The Dolphins offense should not have much trouble moving the ball early on the ground, it will get easier as the game progresses and the Browns defenders wear down. The passing game should look crisp if unspectacular. Ted Ginn will be making his hometown debut and given the Cam Cameron “family” mentality, Ginn could see plenty of time at the WR spot just to satisfy the “family and friends”. The question is will he have any success? Miami should be able to maintain ball control and use Ronnie Brown and Lorenzo Booker to keep the Browns off balance. Whoever is at the number 2 WR spot for the fins this season should get ample opportunity to exploit the weak secondary."
"Miami 17 – Cleveland 9 I don’t see the Browns moving the ball against the Fins defense. Miami will likely concentrate on Lewis which should shut down most of their offense production."
New England @ Miami:
"If all the pieces fall into place Miami should be 6-0 heading into this showdown. All though I have predicted as much, it is more than likely that both Miami and New England are sitting around 5-1 or 4-2. Defensively for Miami, this will be the first true test of their abilities. If they are sitting tied for the division their confidence will be fueled by their ego to crush the Patriots. Tom Brady has trouble against the Dolphins. He performs well, but not like he does elsewhere. The addition of Randy Moss will open up a completely new dimension to the Patriots offense given the fact that he wasn’t the only one. Joining Moss is former Dolphin Wes Welker, who finds a way to get open, Kelley Washington, and Donte’ Stallworth. On paper, the Pats WRs are some of the best in the league, if not the best. The Dolphins will have to be on their game, stop the vertical attack and you are left with stopping 2nd year RB Lawrence Maroney. Stop Maroney and contend with the passing game. The key to this game will be how the CBs and Safeties perform. If they can keep the long ball down, cover the middle, it will give our pass rushers time to put pressure on Brady."
"Like the defense, the offense will get their first “real” test. They may have stumbled in the games previous, but this will not be a stumble, this will be a knock down fight. Ronnie Brown and Booker must control the clock and keep the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands. New LB Adalius Thomas will pair with the rest of the solid linebackers to make sure that the Dolphins do not.The Patriots are going to want to put the game on Trent Green’s shoulders. They want Miami to throw where they can get as many 3 and outs as possible to give the ball back to Brady.As hard as I try, I can not find a lot to be overly optimistic here. Cam Cameron will be the key to this game and how he plans for it. His system will be the key to offensive production. The flaws on this years team on both sides of the ball should be clearly defined after this game. Some of the strengths that we thought were positives, may be exposed as well. I’m not saying that Miami can’t win this game because they can. But, they have to play 60 minutes of mistake free football to do it and Cameron must have a game plan in place that surprises the Patriots."
"New England 31 – Miami 13. I think if the Fins fall behind early and have to rely on the passing game, they won’t score many points at all. The 31 scored by NE will not all be on account of the Defense."
NY Giants @ Miami @ London, England
"An Historical game for the NFL. The first regular season game to be played outside of North America. How historic is this game? So much so that it will be televised with the rest of the Sunday games and will not be nationally televised."
"This is a very hard game to predict for either side of the ball. The Dolphins, who may be coming off a bad game against NE are flying across the pond to play a team that has as many question marks as they do. Tiki Barber has retired and Eli Manning looks nothing like his SB MVP brother.The defense should be ready to perform, especially if the previous week was a bad one. Look for Taylor and Porter to have impacts on stopping Manning from getting into any rhythm. The long ball will be his friend and once again the CBs will be tested down-field, especially if Manning has little time as he has shown a tendency to throw it long when under pressure.With the RB situation a combination of Reuben Droughns and Brandon Jacobs, the passing game will likely be in full swing, as the Dolphins defense should have little trouble stopping any serious threat of a running attack. No matter how good the Oline turns out to be for the Giants, those two runners are not elite.Stopping the run puts the game in Manning’s hands and in those hands we have seen a tendency for Eli to falter. When under pressure as I stated above, Manning will at times blindly throw the ball down-field. His receivers know that instead of coming back in their route, they can turn and run down-field. Bell should be able to use his speed and abilities to keep the receivers at bay."
"Trent Green, Trent Green, Trent Green. The game will be in his hands and I think that Ronnie Brown will see a lot of swing passes with some nice yards after the catch. Green will expose an interior linebacker corp that has a tendency to over-pursue and leave the underneath a little too exposed when dropping into coverage, and those are the defenses best assets. Kawika Mitchell and Kiwanuka Mathias. On the end is Michael Strahan who is entering into his 15th season. He is still solid although his numbers are not what they used to be. Likely due to the absence of a solid DE on the other side rather than Strahan himself.The CBs are o.k. but not 100 percent solid and starter Sam Madison who is 2 years removed from the Dolphins should be an easy target for Green. Chris Chambers, Marty Booker, Derek Hagen, or even Ted Ginn could have productive days, depending on who is the slot and who lines up with Madison."
"Miami 23 – NY Giants 13 Without a solid running game, the Miami Defense can control the line of scrimmage and force the game into Eli’s hands where I don’t think that he will be able to handle the pressure from Porter and Taylor."
That sums up the first 2 months of the Miami Dolphins 2007 schedule. Should these pieces fall into place the Dolphins could by my projections be heading into the bye week with a 7-1 record or more realistically with a record in the neighborhood of 6-2 or at worst 5-3.
The month of November will see 3 games, following the bye week, the Dolphins play host to the rival Bills before traveling to Philly to take on the Eagles and then on to Pittsburgh for the Joey Porter homecoming game.