The Miami Dolphins will play tonight on ESPN’s Monday Night Football against the visiting New York Giants. The Dolphins will wear throwback uniforms for the first time at home in their history.
With wins by the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the Dolphins slim playoff hopes have all but mathematically died. The Giants on the other hand are fighting to stay in a division race that very well could be won by a team that finishes the season at .500. Miami will try to make their chase for the post-season a little harder.
A win would move the Dolphins one game closer to .500 themselves as they currently sit at 5-7. Dan Campbell’s team was a run heavy offense last Sunday but failed to produce 20 points yet again on the season. The win over the Baltimore Ravens last week was due to a big defensive effort. The Dolphins will need more of the same tonight.
Five players will have a big impact on tonight’s game. On offense and defense but the offense is the unit that needs to step up the most. Their point production in 2015 has been abysmal this season. Eclipsing 20 points only two times this season and reaching 20 points only three times. Against the Giants they will need a much better performance. Especially if the defense falters.
Tannehill has been very inconsistent this season and last week only completed 9 of 19 pass attempts. The Giants do not have a stout secondary and this is an area that the Dolphins must exploit. There are questions regarding Rishard Matthews’ availability tonight which will put De’Vante Parker in the spotlight once again.
Parker has scored a touchdown in each of the last two games. He is still trying to acclimate to the NFL but with Jarvis Landry likely a defensive target, Parker needs to step up and improve his route running. Parker doesn’t have blazing speed but he is fast for his size and can handle the outside coverage well. Getting his body in front to shield defenders will improve his statistics when targeted. Parker made an amazing touchdown catch last Sunday and Tannehill will likely target the big receiver more tonight.
Defensively Vernon has really come on strong as of late. He has been getting consistent pressure on quarterbacks for most of the last month. That needs to continue against the Giants. Eli Manning is not a great quarterback but he is still very good and he handles pressure well. Vernon needs to wrap Manning on contact because Manning has fantastic ability to move in and out of the pocket to avoid being hit. The Giants have given up 21 sacks on the season which is 20th in the NFL. Pressure from Vernon will force Manning to rush his throws.
Fox has been extremely poor this season. When he is not letting defensive ends into the back-field he is holding them. Tonight he will face DE Cullen Jenkins. Jenkins has only a half sack and three tackles on the year but he has the power to push up field and if Fox can’t contain him, the Dolphins could be in trouble. It’s also possible that the Giants move Jason Pierre-Paul to the left side to face Fox. Pierre-Paul returned to the team a couple of weeks ago after doing severe damage to his hand on a Fourth of July incident. Regardless of who plays opposite Fox his play will go a long way in providing Tannehill with time and running lanes for Lamar Miller and Jay Ajayi.
Grimes has had his most inconsistent season since arriving in Miami. Tonight he will likely match-up with one of the best young receivers in the NFL, Odell Beckham, Jr. Beckham is an electric receiver who can exploit the best coverage corners in the league. Grimes has struggled recently with Brandon Marshall and Sammy Watkins but he did very well against Dez Bryant. Which Grimes shows up for tonights game will be imperative to the Dolphins defensive success. Grimes is going to need help from the defensive line. Pressure on Eli Manning will shorten Beckham’s routes and force throws that Grimes can use his athleticism to cover.