Dolphins confidence could spur Monday night upset
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have some confidence after finally getting back in the win column. Can they carry it through this week against the Patriots on Monday Night? Maybe.
Miami enters the game as 11 point underdogs which is down six points from their first meeting two weeks ago in Foxboro. Miami beat Denver at home last week handily and could use that momentum this week.
The Dolphins will go old school as they wear their throwback uniforms to host their division rivals. Miami plays well when they are in their old looks but let’s be real, they are playing one of the best teams in the NFL and got embarrassed the first go around.
What Miami needs to do is continue the second half success they had last week and Jay Cutler will have to be the guy that gets the job done. In the first meeting Matt Moore was at the helm. Cutler hasn’t played well for almost the entire 2017 season. In his three previous attempts to beat the Patriots with the Broncos and the Bears, his teams have been blow out.
Defense however could be the key in this game and give the Dolphins at least a marginal chance. Miami was able to get consistent pressure on Tom Brady. Penalties however killed Dolphins drives and extended Patriot drives. Cleaning those mistakes up will help.
Miami needs to apply pressure on Brady the entire game. The Patriots will be without tight-end Rob Gronkowski but will get back wide-out Chris Hogan back for the game. Gronkowski had two touchdowns against the Dolphins in week 12. Miami must also find a way to stop Brandon Cooks as well. Cooks was able to find success against the Dolphins secondary.
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Last week Miami fans were treated with a stellar performance by Xavien Howard who got his first interception of his career. A pick six against the Broncos. He later added his second. Cordrea Tankersley also played well. It was the best game by far for the young cornerbacks.
They will need to play better this week.
For the Dolphins however any chance of victory will have to come on the offensive side of the ball where the offensive line is still struggling, Mike Pouncey is not playing up to standards, and Jay Cutler has been mostly bust. A key to this game could be Kenyan Drake.
Drake had his best game as a pro last Sunday rushing for over 100 yards and this week he will be expected to carry the bulk of the carries again. How well the offensive line can open lanes will be imperative to the advancement down the field. Miami needs him to break a few runs to keep the defense balanced.
This is Adam Gase’s time to make the proper adjustments after only a week apart from playing the Patriots. He should have seen enough from the Patriot defense to make game plan adjustments that will put his offense in position to make plays but the players need to execute and stop the penalties that have put the offense in long yardage situations.
Will the Dolphins win on Monday night? No, not likely. They simply don’t have the consistency to play at the same level as the Patriots. The Patriots do not tend to overlook anyone so Miami can’t expect the Patriots to not come out firing on all cylinders. Miami must play a near flawless game in all aspects of the field. Offense, defense, and special teams. That is a huge task for a team who has just ended a five game losing streak.