Five Dolphins players who could help team win tonight
By Brian Miller
When the Miami Dolphins host the Patriots tonight on Monday Night Football, it will take an entire team effort to pull off the upset. Five players however need to have huge games.
The Dolphins have not played well in primetime games this season and tonight is not shaping up like a change to this seasons problem. All three aspects of the game must be played nearly flawless for the Dolphins to have a chance to win.
Breaking down the game is hard because the Dolphins are so up and down. Last weeks big win over Denver showed that the Dolphins players can play at a high level but can they carry it over? Tonight five players are going to have to have big games if Miami has any chance of winning.
Wake was able to get a lot of pressure on Tom Brady in the last meeting two weeks ago. The Dolphins need him to get to Brady this time. Not just knock him down but do so while he has the ball. This will help create turnover opportunities and Miami needs to win that battle. Miami will not have William Hayes and they may be without corner Cordrea Tankersley so pressure from Wake and rookie Charles Harris are important to keep Brady out of sync. When pressured, Brady becomes a lot less accurate and inconsistent.
The Dolphins offensive line has been a mess and Pouncey has not had a good season. In recent weeks he has been flagged for holding as well. He needs to clean this up. Pouncey needs to call a good game at the line and lift the guards around him. If Pouncey can have a solid game then the Dolphins should be able to run the ball which will open the Dolphins passing offense.
Cutler has never come close to beating Tom Brady. His attempts in both Denver and Chicago have been blowout losses. He missed the first meeting with a concussion so this will be his first attempt with the Dolphins. Cutler is erratic but when he gets into a rhythm he can lead the offense. He needs time however. Under pressure Cutler tends to just throw the ball away instead of trying to extend the play. Tonight he will need to extend the plays and keep drives alive with smart decisions and ball location.
If the Dolphins want to win they need Drake to have a big night. Drake is a capable runner who can make defenders miss and break long runs. The ability to give Drake running lanes will be a major key to a Dolphins win or at the very least keeping them close and in position late to win.
Alonso has struggled much of the season. He over commits to the run, misses tackles, and has been out of position often. He needs to get out of his own head and make plays. Alonso is bringing down the other linebackers and putting the safeties in bad positions. Without Rob Gronkowski in the lineup for the Patriots, Alonso should have a slightly better time covering the tight end but he still needs to make smart decisions. Alonso needs to be an asset tonight and not a liability.