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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
The 4-5 Miami Dolphins, coming off a come from behind 20-19 win on the road at Philadelphia, take on the 2-7 Dallas Cowboys, coming off a 10-6 loss in Tampa Bay in Miami. Both teams are hoping to keep their playoff hopes alive. In the case of the Cowboys, they will need to win at least 5 of their remaining 6 games to possibly win the putrid NFC East. And they come in with confidence, as they get QB Tony Romo back for the game on Sunday. The game is a 1:00 kickoff on Fox.
Let's take a look at the teams and see how the match up.
The Dolphins come in averaging 350.2 yards in total offense, which ranks 19th in the NFL. The Dolphins are generating 247.2 yards per game via the pass, while generating 103.0 yards via the running game. This comes in at 16th and 19th respectively in the NFL. The Dolphins are scoring 21.2 points per game, which ranks 24th in the NFL. They face a Dallas defense that comes into the game giving up 349.8 yards per game, which ranks 17th in the NFL in total defense. The Cowboys are giving up 241.2 yards per game via the pass and 108.6 yards per game via the running game. This ranks 14th and 15th respectively in the NFL. The Cowboys are giving up 23.8 points per game, which ranks 19th in the NFL.
Miami will come into the game again without their starting ORT, Ju'Wuan James, who is still dealing with a toe injury. This is not good news, as OT Jason Fox has had his issues filling in. Dallas also get's starting ILB Sean Lee back. Lee has missed the last 2 games due to a concussion suffered in the Seattle game. QB Ryan Tannehill and the offense will need to have an efficient game this week. I have been preaching this for weeks, and it has been proven that when the Dolphins have a solid, balanced run to pass ratio, they win most of the time. RB Lamar Miller has come on in the passing game the last few weeks, but he along with rookie RB Jay Ajayi, who has looked good the last few weeks, need to be a big part of this game via the run game. TE Jordan Cameron has been MIA the last few weeks, and that needs to change. Get him involved in this game early. TE Dion Sims will most likely be used to help Fox at ORT and in the run game, but he needs to see some opportunities in the passing game as well. Spreading the ball to all the weapons this week would be a plus. The OL will need to minimize the damage that DE Greg Hardy can potentially do.
Defensively, the Dolphins come into the game giving up 390.2 yards per game in total offense, which ranks 26th. The Dolphins are giving up 254.7 yards via the pass, and are giving up 135.6 yards in the run game. This ranks 20th and 31st in the NFL respectively. The Dolphins are giving up 25.0 points per game, which ranks 21st in the NFL. The face a Dallas offense that comes in generating 338.8 yards per game in total offense. They are generating 219.8 yards per game via the pass, while generating 119.0 per game via the run game. This ranks 26th and 9th in the NFL respectively. The Cowboys are scoring 18.4 points per game, which ranks 29th.
This Dallas offense will have a much different look, as they get QB Tony Romo back. The Cowboys have what is considered by many to have the best OL in the NFL, and they have weapons in WR Dez Bryant & Terrance Williams, TE Jason Whitten and RB Darren McFadden. Miami will be tested this week, and they come into the game banged up somewhat. The Dolphins will probably be without LB Jelani Jenkins and possibly Koa Misi as well. That means rookie LB's Mike Hull and Neville Hewitt will need to step up and play well. DT Ndamankung Suh has been a FORCE the last few weeks, and he will need to have a HUGE game on Sunday. He will also need help from fellow DT Earl Mitchell, who will need to beat single blocking. DE Olivier Vernon, MIA most of the 2015 season really needs to step up. Miami does get a healthy CB Brent Grimes back, and he will be needed. The young CB's for Miami, Tony Lippett and Bobby McCain played last week and played well, and they will be needed again this week. I believe this is a game that the Dolphins will need to be aggressive and get to Romo and hit him, OFTEN. Big test for the defense on Sunday.
The pundits believe the Cowboys will win this game Sunday. That showing a lot of respect for Tony Romo and what he can do and not thinking Miami has enough to get the Cowboys in their own house. Under Dan Campbell, this team has sort of been up and down. 2 resounding wins over the Titans and Texans followed by disappointing blowout losses at New England and at Buffalo before finally winning at Philadelphia last week. The good Dolphins needs to show up to have a chance to get this game and keep playoff hopes alive.
Ryan Tannehill didn't put up monster numbers, he only threw for 217 yards and completed about 58% of his passes, and one of his TDs was pure luck. But he did enough to put his team in position to win the game in the fourth quarter in what could only be called and ugly game to watch. Tannehill took a beating again, but kept coming back. One thing you can say about him is that he is a tough player. No one has been sacked more since 2012 and yet he has yet to miss a start.
Ndamukong Suh had a monster game with 8 tackles, 3 for a loss, 1 sack and 3 QB hits. He is starting to resemble the player we saw in Detroit more and more each week.
Reshad Jones had another good game with 9 tackles and a late INT that prevented an Eagles comeback. In a close game, he had a game deciding play. Jones also had a sack.
Loved the power and energy that Jay Ajayi brought to the running game. We need to see more of him. I especially loved seeing him run it on 3rd and 1 and easily convert with a power run. He brings an element to the offense that has been missing all year.
Rishard Matthews continues having a break out season, with 5 catches for 93 yards, including a long run and catch of 43 yards that almost went for a TD.
Nice to see Chris McCain get some time at defensive end and come up with a strip sack.
Even nicer to see the rookies contribute. Nevill Hewitt filled in nicely when Jelani Jenkins went down. Tony Lippett got his first NFL tackle. Bobby McCain came in and played well in coverage. But the biggest play of the game was Zack Vigil's punt block that changed momentum and allowed the Dolphins to get back in the game.
Damien Williams was to blame for this week's safety. After dropping a pass on offense, he then went to return a kick off and muffed it. When he got it back, his teammate was telling him to stay in the end zone but he inexplicably decided to run it out to the 1 and then slip and fall. Of course Tannehill was sacked on the next play by an unblocked defender for a safety.
The defense is infuriatingly inconsistent. They did well against the run, allowing only 83 yards on 36 attempts (2.3 YPC), but there were huge gaps in the secondary at times. Brent Celek had the game of his life, with 4 catches for 134 yards. However, the Dolphins did sack Sam Bradford 4 times and forced multiple fumbles, which is great. But they didn't recover any of them.
The Dolphins are still in the hunt. But it is a tall order. They literally have to go on a 4-5 game winning streak at this point to get themselves positioned to have a chance at the playoffs in late December. And they don't have the luxury of depending on tie breakers since they are 0-4 in division games. It is going to take about 10 wins to have a chance at the playoffs. The Dolphins need to go 6-1 the rest of the way to get there. Given how maddenly inconsistent this team is, I'm not exactly expecting this to happen.
Next week, the Dolphins play the Cowboys, who have lost 7 straight, but get Tony Romo back. Let's hope they can at least play as gritty a game as they played against the Eagles.
The 3-5 Miami Dolphins, coming off a 33-17 lost at Buffalo, travel to Philadelphia to take on the 4-4 Eagles, coming off an overtime 33-27 win in Dallas. The game is a 1:00 kickoff on CBS.
Let's take a look at the teams and see how they match up.
Miami comes into the game offensively ranking 13th in total offense generating 357.9 yards per game. The Dolphins are generating 254.6 yards per game passing, 103.2 yards per game rushing. This ranks 13th & 19th in the NFL, and are scoring 21.4 points per game, which ranks 21st. They face a defensive team in Philadelphia coming in giving up 366.8 yards per game, which ranks 19th in the NFL. The Eagles are giving up 253.9 yards a game passing, 112.9 yards per game rushing, which ranks 21st in the NFL in both catagories. They are giving up 20.5 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NFL.
The Dolphins are coming off a game in which QB Ryan Tannehill played one of his better games, but the Dolphins struggled in the Red Zone once again. RB Lamar Miller had 2 touchdowns in the game, but only had 12 carries for 44 yards. He was an option in the passing game and had a big game, as he had 7 catches for 97 yards. The run to pass ratio was 37-23, but the Dolphins had to throw once they got down in the 2nd half. That said, I have said before and will continue to say that this team needs balance. Tannehill is not a QB as this moment, or maybe never, that can win a game just by himself and the passing game. The Eagles rank 21st against the run, and the Dolphins need to try to establish RB's Lamar Miller and rookie Jay Ajayi. More production out of the TE position would be a welcomed plus also, as Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims had a combined 2 catches.
Defensively, the Dolphins come into the game ranking 25th in total defense, giving up 384.5 yards per game. Miami is giving up 242.4 yards in the passing game, and are giving up 142.1 yards per game against the run. This ranks 14th and 31st respectively. Miami is giving up 35.8 points per game, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. They face an Eagles offense that is generating 366.4 yards per game, which ranks 10th in the NFL. The Eagles are generating 244.8 yards per game in the passing game, and are coming in at 121.6 yards per game running the ball, which ranks 10th. The Eagles are scoring 24.1 points per game, which ranks 12th.
Miami is coming off an abysmal performance in Buffalo. The Dolphins gave up 266 yards rushing, and also allowed WR Sammy Watkins to have a big game with 8 catches for 168 yards and a touchdown. Many of the catches came against CB Brent Grimes. QB Sam Bradford has not been particular sharp in 2015, so you can expect the Dolphins to get a big dose of RB's DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews, and who could blame them. Miami ranks next to last in the NFL against the run. Point blank, the front seven for the Dolphins have not done the job, and until that changes, the same putrid results that you see from this team will be a recurring theme. With the excpetion of Reshad Jones, for the most part, the secondary has struggled as well.
Miami still has slim playoff hopes in regards to the Wildcard. If they want to have any hopes of trying to make a run at the playoffs, the Dolphins have to win this game in Philadelphia. So far this 3 game road trip has not been good to Miami. Here hoping they can get the final game of this brutal stretch.