Are the Miami Dolphins heading for a playoff run in 2020?
With the NFL season rounding the final bend, let’s take a deeper look at where the Miami Dolphins are in 2020 and if a playoff run might be on the horizon.
There is no question the Miami Dolphins have been improving and some of those improvements have been dramatic. If they make the playoffs, how far can they go?
Statistics are taken from teamrankings.com
It is fair to say that Miami’s defense has come a long way from those horrible games at the beginning of last year. I was shocked, even appalled at how the defense gave up 160 plus points in the first four games of 2019. Furthermore, for the 2019 season, they gave up over 300 yards in every single game and ranked 30th in total defense giving up 398 yards per game.
What shocks me, even more, is how quickly the defense has turned it around to become one of the top defenses this year.
Clearly, this has been masterful coaching and great corner play that schemes up confusion for opposing teams. Between the defensive scheme and great corner play, Miami has been able to ride 25 turnovers and a +10 turnover margin to a winning record. This year the defense ranks 18th in yards given up per game at 362 yds/gm; 3rd at points allowed per game 18.8 pts/gm; tied for first at 25 total takeaways.
The defense may be much improved but I would still like to see fewer yards allowed per game, especially against the run. If you watched the Denver game, you could see we had difficulty stopping the run and how they dominated our defensive line.
As of now, the Dolphins give up 120.2 rushing yds game which puts them 21st in the league. However, from my eye test perspective, the run defense seems to be a bigger problem than the 21st rated defense against the run would seem to suggest. Opposing teams have been forced to throw more often due to Miami’s quick starts. When opposing teams don’t need to play catch up and run the ball, Miami has a difficult time stopping them, especially when Christian Wilkins wasn’t in the lineup.
Miami seems to have trouble getting to the quarterback when they rush only four. Why does this concern me? In my opinion, you can’t always scheme turnovers. Additionally, if Miami was able to apply consistent pressure with just four rushers, this Defense would be elite.
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In 2019 offense ranked around 27th with 310 yards per game. In 2020 they rank around 27th in the league with 323 yds/gm. Only a slight improvement.
In 2019 Miami ranked 24th with 1.6 giveaways per game. In 2020 Miami ranks about 14th at 1.2 giveaways per game. One big question (that seems a bit moot, but fun to speculate on) is who is the better quarterback right now Tua or Fitz?
They both seem to be almost equal but with some distinct differences. Fitzpatrick has played 8 games has 12 touchdowns and 8 interceptions with a 68.5% completion rate and a 93.1 rating for 257 yds/game. Tua has played 7 games with 9 touchdowns and 1 interception with a 62% completion rate and a 95.2 rating for 182.1 yds/game.
Passes of 25 yds or more Tua has 3 and Fitzpatrick has 12. Clearly Fitzpatrick moves the offense better, but also turns the ball over more. Is an extra 80 yards per game of passing worth the extra 7 interceptions. Something interesting to think about.
If you watched the Kansas City game, one could see that Miami lacks special talent at the offensive skill positions. Miami ranks 30 on big plays of 20 yards or more having a total of 15. Green Bay is #1 at 34. For more perspective, the Eagles have 23; The lowly Jets have 20. Ouch!
Based on my perspective, if Miami makes the playoffs, there are two things stopping them from going deep. One, they don’t have enough offensive playmakers. Two, Miami has trouble stopping the run. I’m not trying to be a negative Nelly, I’m just trying to call it like I see it (be it right or wrong).
Even though I may be a little negative on Miami’s playoff run potential. If you make the playoffs, anything can happen.