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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
I keep hearing the music from the end of the first Rocky as I look over what the Miami Dolphins have in front of them. They've had the benefit of a few soft matchups but otherwise have shocked the NFL after a dismal first two games of the season. Can they hold until the final bell to secure the respect of the league? Wait, is Brian Flores' wife by chance named Adrian?
There are several playoff formulas for Miami to get in but the best bet is to win the division. Standing in their way are the Chiefs, Patriots, Raiders and Bills. The Bills have a one game lead in the division. Like Miami, the Bills have a tough opponent in the Steelers this Sunday followed by weak opponents in the Patriots and Broncos. Side note, has any offense looked more pathetic than the Patriots last night against the Rams? Talk about no faith in your QBs.
Miami will have to pull the ultimate Rocky move this Sunday and hang tough against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Thankfully this matchup is on their home turf and the Chiefs may be slightly vulnerable after an ugly, grueling win over Denver. These are the type of trap games you hope for this time of year so Miami will need to be laser focused. The Chiefs rushing offense is mediocre and their rushing defense is bottom tier. Those are positives for Miami's weaknesses. Can the secondary contain Mahomes and can Tua put up touchdowns instead of field goals? It will probably come down to those questions. God help us if Chan Gailey decides to go vanilla in this one.
Its never safe to look beyond a game but if Miami pulls off the upset and Buffalo loses to Pittsburgh it will change the entire narrative for this final stretch. I think New England is cooked now that they are eliminated from any playoff hopes. I've maintained my opinion that the Raiders are frauds and very beatable. Their defense is 28th in points allowed and 22nd in yards allowed. Outside of a stat piling game against the Jets, their passing offense is ice cold. Their ground game can be dangerous, but has rushed for less than 100 yards in four of their last seven games. They also put up over 200 yards recently against Cleveland and Denver, so I won't get too cocky there. This leads us to the showdown in Buffalo...
I just have a gut feeling the stars are aligning for this game. The improbable Miami Dolphins earning the respect of the league against the preseason darling Buffalo Bills. And you know what? THEY SHOULD BE ALIGNING! Brian Flores has built a respectable defense albeit with some flaws. Can't ask him to perform miracles in less than two years. Tua Tagovailoa has answered the huge question of whether he can physically hold up in an NFL game. Nothing would make me happier than watching Miami wipe the smirk off of Josh Allen's face and making him the next Joe Flacco/Jared Goff/Kirk Cousins overrated wonder who begins his descent. When I think of what will define Miami's 2020 season it is this game. Can they prove that Going The Distance is something they are capable of? Previous seasons would watch them wilt down the stretch and I just don't see it happening this time. Not with Brian Flores at the helm.
Rocky didn't win a title in the first movie. He proved you don't underestimate someone who is determined. I have no delusions that Flores will be hoisting the Lombardi trophy in two months. Miami isn't there yet. But I want this team to punch their upcoming opponents, two of whom are among the best, so hard that they'll be whimpering "ain't gonna be no rematch" by the end of the game. The Dolphins have slugged their way through some tough games this year and have shown they are determined. They are not the merry band of misfits from 2019. This is their chance to show people they have arrived and will only get better in the next few years.