The Miami Dolphins season enters the second half this week when they host the Las Vegas Raiders at Hard Rocks Stadium.
I remember when I was in school, it was such a magical time when we had a week off from the hard knock life of a thirteen-year-old with a locker full of forty-year-old textbooks. We often still had a few assignments to work on, but overall, it was a true break from the routine before all the mandated testing was going to happen to wrap up the school year.
It is not so different for the Miami Dolphins this season. Their bye came when some of their most valuable players needed some recovery time, and they will have a time of testing in this last stretch of games that are the Phin's path to the post-season. Bye weeks lead to rest, to course corrections and, apparently, they can even lead to cornrows. All they need to do is ‘not screw up’.
The Dolphins have a major piece of the puzzle that could be back in play this week. De'Von Achane is their rookie RB sensation who spent the last 4 weeks on IR with a little knee issue. Achane made a huge dent in the stat sheets during the early weeks of the season. He rushed for 460 yards and seven TDs in just four games. I say, “little knee issue” because he didn’t need surgery and it was described by Coach Mike as more of a sprain, not a tear.
So, he is expected to return to the field in Week 11 against the Las Vegas Raiders and the Raiders probably won’t be able to contain him if he is anywhere near 100%. A huge chunk of the Dolphin’s roster is like lightning in a bottle, and they are playing at home where there is no snow or ice to worry about.
The Raiders are coming off a couple wins but it is a huge test for Raider’s rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell that is going to have to face the sneaky ballhawks that are hungry for some interceptions. I think a handful of turnovers will be forced but I predict at least one pick 6 from the Phins will happen.
O'Connell can’t make the same mistakes that he made early in last week’s game against the Jets if they even want to compete with the Dolphins, who are fresh off their bye-week. Also, this kid is getting sacked A LOT. He has been sacked ten times in just three starts and hasn’t witnessed the vigorousness of Van Ginkel, been chased down by Chubb or pummeled by Phillips. He may be running for his life on Sunday.
The Dolphins are sitting at 6-3. As long as they don’t drop the ball, literally, they should slide into the playoffs. They have all the weapons needed to make a deep run and maybe even a chance of a championship ring, but they must keep the pedal pressed and move full speed ahead. I think the Phins have two tough games left on their schedule. The Cowboys on Christmas Eve and The Ravens on New Years Eve will be the toughest games with the biggest spotlights. I have faith in Miami getting the job done and putting on a good show in the conference championship.