Much has been written this season about the Miami Dolphins and their lack of "signature wins." Yet, if there is a ticker tape parade down Dan Marino Blvd all will be forgotten. However, the Dolphins don't have the luxury of looking past their Week 11 opponent in a highly competitive AFC. With that in mind, Miami must keep its attention on the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders come into Week 11 sporting a new coach, a new quarterback, and a new outlook on the season. Under Interim Head Coach, Antonio Pierce, the Raiders are winners of 2 straight. During their 2-game winning streak, the Raiders defense has held opponents without a touchdown while compiling 10 sacks and 3 takeaways during this time.
The Raiders find themselves 2 games behind the Cleveland Browns for a playoff berth and a win versus the Miami Dolphins would greatly improve their playoff aspirations.
The Miami Dolphins are 6-3 and atop the AFC EAST for what would be a 4th place seeding if the playoffs started today. A victory against the Raiders would do nothing to change the national narrative but, according to Tua Tagovailoa, these Dolphins aren't afraid to talk Super Bowl.
"I think throughout OTAs and throughout training camp we could see the potential that we had as a team offensively and defensively and were not afraid to talk about Super Bowls here."
A win today would propel the Dolphins to 7-3 and help them keep pace with the Ravens, Browns, Steelers and Jaguars who also have 3 losses. The Ravens defeated the Bengals on Thursday night to improve to 8-3. , the Browns play the Steelers and the Titans play the Jaguars in what should shape up to be two very competitive matchups with playoff implications.
Today’s game further serves as more time for the Dolphin defense to continue to get acclimated to Vic Fangio’s scheme and style of play. With almost everyone on the defensive side of the field healthy and ready to play, many prognosticators and journalists are picking this unit to be the one to carry the defense the rest of the way.
The Dolphin defense is second to last in turnover differential at -4 and ranks towards the bottom half of the league in points allowed and points per game. The Dolphins rank 28th in the league in red zone defense; allowing opponents to score a touchdown 68% of the time. A matchup against rookie Aidan O’Connell could be what the doctor ordered.
Today’s game also marks the return of rookie running back De’von Achane since being placed on IR after a Week 5 game against the New York Giants. Achane burst onto the scene with a Week 3 debut against the Denver Broncos that showcased the rookie's blistering speed and ability. Before going on IR Achane had 5 touchdowns with 460 yards rushing on 38 carries for a whopping 12.1 yards per carry. Did we mention the rookie sensation can catch too?
De’von complimented his running prowess with 67 yards receiving on 11 catches for 7.4 yards per catch and 2 touchdowns. If the defense can get right and Achane can return to form the Dolphins can find themselves with yet another victory and one step closer to that all elusive Super Bowl Championship.