Miami Dolphins Preview: One Insufferable Fanbase Down, One To Go
Not too shabby.
This week, because the NFL schedule makers thought it would be clever to stick a proverbial crowbar up our collective asses when they decided it would be neat to see the Dolphins travel to New York and New England on consecutive weeks, the Fins visit the Patriots for another AFC East showdown.
Still, even with the unfortunate scheduling, the Dolphins are in the driver's seat as far as their playoff hopes are concerned. After this week, Miami has the 4th easiest schedule in the conference, while the Patriots have the most difficult. In fact, the Dolphins have the easiest schedule remaining in the AFC East.
Miami enters this game an 11-point underdog. This is mainly because the Patriots have a juggernaut of an offense. And mainly because, even with their myriad of recent success, the Dolphins secondary still tends to reside in Shitsville, USA. The Dolphins have been very good at stopping the run, but may be without DT Jason Ferguson this week with an elbow injury. But, at the end of the day, the defensive line must pressure Tom Brady. Two weeks ago Miami's front-seven had Drew Brees for lunch with some fava beans and nice chianti during the first half. Then the second half came. And they figured that's enough of that and let Brees have all day in the pocket, where he painted a replica of Dogs Playing Poker, and threw 344 touchdowns.
But there are two facts in our favor this week. Fact #1: Jason Taylor has Tom Brady's number. JT has nine-and-a-half sacks on Brady. Fact #2: Brady has thrown 13 interceptions against the Dolphins - the most he has against any other team. What do those facts mean? It means there's an excellent chance Jason Taylor turns Tom Brady into his own personal hand-puppet again, which is one hundred-times more awesome and vastly more entertaining that anything Jeff Dunham has ever done with a puppet. It would also help if Joey Porter sacked up and put his game where his mouth is. A side order of Cameron Wake would be nice too.
Another key factor for this game will be the Wildcat. The formation that everyone hates, yet everyone seems to be doing themselves, was unleashed first on the Patriots in New England last season. Ronnie Brown had a career day, and the Dolphins were catapulted from an 0-2 start to an AFC East championship season. Sure, the formation has been stymied the last two weeks, and no one prepares off a bye week like New England. But you have to figure Miami will throw a few wrinkles into the Wildcat this week to catch the Patriots defense by surprise. Throwing rocks at them might also help.
And finally, there's Chad Henne. After a strong debut against the Jets four weeks ago, Henne has been devoid of The Poise. He's been sacked 14 times in just four games. Henne needs to learn to not hold onto the ball when his receivers aren't open (which is pretty much 98.7% of the time) and simply throw the ball away. This will make it three weeks in a row where Henne faces a tough defense. Time for The Robot to reboot and lead this team like he did four weeks ago. 1001001001001.... POISE!
It's a tough matchup, but winnable. Because, if the Dolphins have proved anything this season, it's that they're immune to douchebag teams and their douchebag fans. That's not me talking. That's science!
Prediction: Dolphins 31 - Patriots 28