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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Short week that brings a nationally televised game for the Miami Dolphins. Sunday's loss to the Detroit Lions brought both short and long term ramifications. Not only did Miami stumble at home in what I believe was a must win game to make the playoffs, they lost more players to injury with little time to recuperate. Albert Wilson's season is likely over and it is uncertain if Kenny Stills will be available to play. Things are not looking good for a team that plays terribly on the road. Miami visits the Houston Texans on Thursday night as 7 point underdogs with a 45.5 over/under.
Houston is riding high after defeating division rival Jacksonville Jaguars. They were able to put up 20 points against the vaunted Jaguars defense and may have just ended Blake Bortles' tenure as the starting QB. He was benched at half time and rumors are already swirling. The only positive I can provide at this time is Houston starting QB Deshaun Watson is nursing what appears to be a serious rib injury that could limit his effectiveness.
Like Miami, Houston is 4-3 and will be fighting for a playoff spot over the second half of the season. Unlike Miami, they are on a hot streak winning 4 in a row after starting 0-3. You could argue that they are just beating on the softer part of their schedule, much like Miami early on, but you can only beat who you play. Houston's defense currently ranks 8th in points allowed and 9th in yards allowed. JJ Watt has returned to form with 7 sacks and 4 forced fumbles.
Houston's offense has been somewhat of a mixed bag but will not be a pushover by any stretch. If Watson is truly hurt then perhaps his mobility is not as much of a weapon. I doubt Head Coach Bill O'Brien wants to chance a long term injury with his young starter. Houston's ground game has old friend Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue. Neither has been exceptional this year but both have solid track records and will find success if Miami's DL gets pushed around like they did against Detroit. Miami's secondary will have their hands full with WRs Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Both have produced and I'm sure O'Brien will look to create mismatches. We watched the LBs get torched with miscommunication and poor coverage all day Sunday. I wouldn't be surprised to see rookie slot guy Keke Coutee get some targets for YAC opportunity.
Not much to say about a Dolphins team that finds a way to hurt itself each week. The defense played so well against the high flying Cincinnati Bengal offense two weeks ago and now has been a liability in consecutive games. As we saw with Detroit QB Matt Stafford, if you get a guy who isn't going to make a lot of mistakes it really exposes what Miami is trotting out there. Sunday was the first game that Deshaun Watson did not throw an interception, so we best hope he gets forced into some bad throws. Speaking of pressure, where in the heck was it Sunday? Is Robert Quinn the only guy capable of applying pressure consistently? Yes Andre Branch had a sack but other than that where was everyone? Matt Stafford looked like he was dominating a college game and I assure you Watson will have a field day if given 4 or 5 seconds for his stud receivers to get open.
QB Brock Osweiler has the chance for a revenge game. I'm still not sure he is a savior, but he made some big boy throws Sunday and looks like a guy who will only get better as the season progresses. Unfortunately short weeks have a way of bringing out the worst in some QBs and it wouldn't be shocking for him to regress under the spotlight of a national game. I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but history has not been too kind to him in tough situations. If he steps up and finds a way to carve up a very talented Houston secondary then it is time to officially declare him the hot hand. That won't be easy without Albert Wilson and probably Kenny Stills. Does Devante Parker get the call up after his agent verbally torched Head Coach Adam Gase? Do they go to the practice squad for Leonte Carroo or Isaiah Ford? Gase can no longer get cute with his play calling now that his speedier weapons are sidelined.
The running game has to be more consistent and a lot of that falls on the OL. After dominating the Bears defense they were flat out pushed around by Detroit. RB Kenyan Drake busted out a great TD run, but other than that there wasn't much to write home about. This offense was built to set up the play action and create confusion. No ground game means more what we saw versus New England and Cincinnati, and boy were those some ugly offenses.
This game has the makings of a disaster. Injuries, little time to heal and some post game ugliness from Devante Parker's agent just doesn't add up for a positive outcome. I can see Miami's offense coming out completely flat (FYI, they haven't scored or come close to it on an opening drive this year) and the defense eventually getting gassed. We've seen both Osweiler and Ryan Tannehill make sensational throws. We've seen Gore run like his 25 years old and Drake bust out some huge plays. We've seen the defense create turnovers at an unbelievable pace. Jakeem Grant is providing a huge spark on Special Teams. But it never happens altogether and every game (except against NE) is basically a cliffhanger into the 4th quarter. Miami needs to get its act together because the matchups only get tougher from here.
Sorry guys, I just don't see this one going well for Miami. A garbage time score makes it look closer than it will probably be.