On Sunday night, the Miami Dolphins will face yet another big test six weeks into the season. They didn't fare well against the Bills and now, the Eagles are coming up at a rather bad time.
Jalen Hurts can run the ball and he can throw the ball. He can throw short and he can throw deep and when he does, he has a very capable and nearly elite group of receivers. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are their top two while tight end Dallas Goedert remains one of the best in the league.
Miami is going to struggle against the Eagles offense and there is no other way to say it. You can believe that Miami will dominate this game but there are reasons that reality might say otherwise.
The Eagles are coming off an ugly loss to the New York Jets.
Last week the Jets beat the previously undefeated Eagles. It was the first win by the Jets over the Eagles in their franchise history. Needless to say, the Eagles are not a team that will come off this loss without a big chip on their shoulders.
Well-coached on both sides of the ball, the Eagles now face the same thing the Dolphins do, lose and you could be facing a tie in the division. Philadelphia holds only a one-game lead over the Cowboys in the NFC East. Miami holds a one-game over the Bills.
Many believe that the Eagles won't lose two in a row.
The Dolphins could be at a huge disadvantage in their secondary and that is the biggest key to the game.
Xavien Howard isn't practicing as he deals with a groin injury that took him out of the game last week. Losing Howard would be a huge loss for the Dolphins as they try and keep Brown and Smith from making huge impacts in the game.
In addition to Howard, Kader Kohou is dealing with a neck injury and was limited in practice. That too would be a huge loss and put more pressure on Eli Apple and the Dolphins' safeties. If Kohou and Howard can't go, Cam Smith could see his first extended action of the season against two of the best in the league.
Vic Fangio could be a key to all of this against the Eagles for the Dolphins.
Fangio almost stayed in Philadelphia to serve as either their DC or as an advisor. He spent the end of last season in an advisory role ahead of the playoffs and Super Bowl. He knows the Eagles' offensive system and that could give him an advantage in coming up with a game plan to stop them, or at least limit them.
The biggest task for the Dolphins on Sunday night is to be disciplined in their assignments. Keeping Hurts from picking up big gains with his legs, keeping Hurts from buying time until one of his WRs can get separation and find empty space in the secondary. Stopping the Eagles' rushing attack that sets up the pass.
If Miami is going to win this weekend, it has to be a total team effort, especially with the potential loss of key defensive players.
Can the Dolphins beat the Eagles? Of course, they can. The Dolphins offense will need to be sharp and the Dolphins defense has to find a way to create turnovers, something they have struggled with the last few games. If Fangio can develop a quality game plan, Miami will be able to mask a depleted secondary.