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2015 Free Agency
The 6-4 Miami Dolphins, coming off a Thursday Night 22-9 win over the Buffalo Bills travel to Denver to take on the 7-3 Broncos, coming off a 22-7 pounding at St. Louis. This is a 4.25 kickoff and the feature game today on CBS, and it is a very big game for the Dolphins and the Broncos, as both teams are fighting for playoff position. Miami is still fighting to get in while the Broncos are in a battle with the Cheifs for the AFC West and the Patriots for the overall #1 seed in the AFC.
Let's take a look at the teams and see how they matchup.
Offensively, the Dolphins come into the game averaging 348.4 yards per game. They are generating 221.1 yards per game in the passing game, 127.3 yards in the running game, which ranks 6th in the NFL. The Dolphins are scoring 24.9 points per game, which ranks 11th in the NFL. They face a Denver defense that comes in giving up 316.4 yards a game. They are giving up 243.0 yards in the passing game, 73.4 yards in the running game, which ranks 2nd in the NFL. The Broncos are giving up 22.4 points per game, which is 16th in the NFL.
QB Ryan Tannehill comes into the game completing 65.4% of his passes for 2,354 yards and 17 touchdowns, while throwing 7 interceptions. He has also rushed for 261 yards, and his legs will be important today, not only running the ball, but getting away from pressure. RB Lamar Miller is the leading rusher with 614 yards and a 4.9 yards per carry average and 5 touchdowns. WR Mike Wallace is the leading WR with 44 catches for 557 yards and 6 touchdowns. Right behind Wallace is rookie WR Jarvis "Juice" Landry, with 42 catches for 400 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Dolphins have done a great job of spreading the ball around, and have 4 WR with 25 or more catches. They face a Denver defense that features DE's Von Miller and DeMarus Ware, and both are having very good year for the Broncos, as Miller has 10 sacks and Ware has 9. ILB Brandon Marshall is the leading tackler and CB Aquib Talib leads the secondary.
If there was ever a game the Dolphins need to FORCE the run game, it is this one. Miami cannot come out pass happy against the edge rusher that the Broncos feature. And while the Broncos rank 2nd in the NFL against the run, you have to be persistent in the run game. The revamped OL will have a stiff test today against the Broncos defensive front, and they must play well. Last in this assessment, when Ryan has a chance to connect with Mike Wallace for a big play, he MUST make that play. The Dolphins have to score touchdowns agains the Broncos, not field goals.
Defensively, the Dolphins come into the game giving up 302.5 yards per game, which ranks 2nd in the NFL. They are giving up 208.0 yards in the pass game, which ranks 2nd in the NFL while giving up 94.5 yards in the run game, which ranks 8th. The Dolphins are giving up 18.0 points per game, which ranks 4th. They face a very potent Denver offense that is averaging 412.9 yards per game, which ranks 3rd in the NFL. They are generating 323.0 yards in the pass game, which ranks 2nd in the NFL while generating only 89.9 yards per game in the running game, which ranks 27th. The Broncos are scoring 29.3 yards per game, which ranks 5th.
The Broncos feature one Peyton Manning, the league MVP in 2013, and Peyton is having another big year completing 67.1% of his passes for 3,301 yards and 30 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Denver has potent weapons in the pass game, lead by WR Demaryius Thomas, who has 72 catches for 1,105 yards and 6 touchdowns. WR Emmanual Sanders has 67 catches for 954 yards and 7 touchdowns and TE Julius Thomas has 40 catches for 426 yards and 12 touchdowns. At this moment, Thomas is listed as questionable for the game and is a game time decision. And let's not forget Wes Welker as well. The one thing that you can see is this Denver offense is one dimensional, as their run game ranks 27th in the NFL. Today, and as usual when you are talking about a potent offense that is one dimensional, the Dolphins MUST make sure they remain one dimensional. Don't let the Broncos get their run game going, as I certainly believe they will try to get it going today. The Broncos OL has struggled and the DL for the Dolphins will have to get pressure on Peyton, as his lack of mobility hurts him. The linebackers will have their hands full with the tight ends and the secondary will have to be sharp as they face a bevy of talented receivers. The Broncos play much better in Denver, so Miami will have to play probably their best game today against the Broncos.
Big test for the Dolphins and a game they do really need, as they are fighting for a playoff spot. Denver is feeling a sense of urgency as well, although the Raiders beating the Cheifs on Thursday Night helped the Broncos. Miami can make a statement with a win in Denver today. Can they? We will see.
Let's Go Miami.
Dang, that means that "ole" Big Dave turns 53 in a month. Time sure does fly out the window, so, don't laugh as you'll be there before you know it.
When I was a kid, I was introduced to the game of football when my Dad was in 'Nam and we lived with my Grandmother in Baltimore. I watched Johnny U take the Colts to the Super Bowl and beat the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys looked unbeatable that year, so, it was a surprise win for the Colts. In those days defenses could jump on the backs of their teammates to block field goals, so, seeing rookie Jim O'Brien kick the winning field goal made it an exciting game. I'm not even going to talk about the great TE John Mackey making a fantastic catch in that game despite Unitas trying to fumble the game away. We could sure use a John Mackey to line up with Charles Clay, eh?
That year, my Uncle taught me to hate the Jets (and Joe Namath), because they had beaten Shula's Colts two years earlier in the Super Bowl. On this day in 1970 (Nov 22) as the Colts went on their way to win that Super Bowl, our Miami Dolphins killed the Colts 34-17. My Uncle was so frustrated that he left the room several times. I heard the term "Fish" used to describe the Dolphins for the first time in that game, and let's just say that it was done in contempt. The Colts were just overwhelmed in that game, and this was a sign of a Dynasty forming in South Florida.
My dad returned from 'Nam and we moved to Key West, Florida a month after the Colts had beaten the Cowboys in the Super Bowl, and I was then introduced to the Miami Dolphins as they went to the Super Bowl 3 straight years. So, in the first 4 years that I watched the NFL all of my teams went to the Super Bowl in each year. Little did I know that I would never see 3 Super Bowls again from my Dolphins. Thanks to the WFL and cheapskate Joe Robbie for dismantling our dynasty.
Joe Robbie, the Dolphins owner, was so cost-conscious that he had assistant coaches record their outgoing phone calls so he could review them to assess their value to the team. This sort of behavior led one fellow team owner to say Robbie runs “a $2-million operation like a fruit stand. (link)
Fistpump Does The Dolphins A Favor
A big attaboy goes out to Sparano for beating the Kansas City Chiefs this week. He even gave his trademark "fistpump".
I like Sparano, but not as our head coach. What I liked about him was that he brought discipline back to this team. We were one of the most penalized teams in the NFL before he became our head coach. Unfortunately, his dinosaur approach to the game didn't work. It didn't help that he didn't have a QB. Parcells and Ireland did him no favors.
His time at head coach at Oakland is coming to an end as there are rumors flying around that Jim Harbaugh is on the outs at San Francisco as he has lost the team and has caused a lot of friction in their front office. Unless HC Joe Philben has a terrible December and the Dolphins fail to make the playoffs, it looks as if our coaching staff will be in place for 2015. So, I do not see Harbaugh as an option for this team.
Due to the Dolphins getting their butts kicked to the Chiefs 34-15 in week 3, the Chiefs hold the head-to-head tie breaker over the Dolphins. If the season ended today, this is what we are looking at.
Talk about it here.
Will Peyton Manning's Broncos Lose a 3rd Game in a Row?
That's the big question. I find it hard to believe that this will happen, but the Dolphins have a favorable matchup. Peyton's receivers and offensive line are hurt, and Miami's talented defense is just on fire right now. In the far past, Manning had problems with Jimmy Johnson's defense because of the pass rush and our corners, and I would say that our defensive line is deeper and more talented than those defenses. Our corners are not press corners, so, what you was from the Patriots a couple weeks ago will not be the same, but we have good corners. Unfortunately, Cortland Finnegan is probably going to be out, so, Jamar Taylor will have to repeat what he did last week. We need the "baller" Jamar Taylor from the Bills game, not the "suckish" one from the Lions game. Peyton will surely go his way as often as possible.
One of our forum VIPs, John Knighton, posted several quotes from a Broncos forum on their thoughts on the upcoming game.
"This week we get the Miami Dolphins.They are 11th in points per game on offense, 4th in PPG on defense and 9th in turnover margin at +3. I have major worries about this game and our team. Miami has one of the best pass defenses in the NFL and they have historically kicked our butt with a record of 5-11-1 all time. Miami matches up well against us too. Someone talk me off the cliff."
"we have no chance"
"Being on that cliff is just realizing the reality. For me miami defense >> broncos defense. Grimes is just amazing. That defense has kept them in everything. If Tannehill is playing a good game(chances are will just like most QBs who play denver) it's a loss. I've been saying miami 27-21 and sticking to it. Its another week of being outcoached with adjustments only happening by one team."
"Miami is very good. And with our injuries, and the way we're playing, a loss wouldn't surprise me. This game is huge. Will potentially make or break our season."
"We are a vastly better team than the Dolphins. Don't let a single bad game color your entire view of this season. This is not an early road game. By the way, historically the statistic that is most predictive of future success is net yards per pass attempt on offense. We're tied with GB at #1 in the league, Miami is #28."
"sanders is out. OL is awful. we don't get turnovers. we have no kicker. coach fox claps a lot. the dolphins have enough film to watch to know how to beat us. Dolphins 24, Broncos 14. real prediction, but i'm crossing my fingers hoping for reverse mojo."
Talk about it here.