FanPost

What Miami Needs to Do to Win this Season

   I'm going to list 4 key things that play a big role in winning/losing in the NFL. I also went ahead and looked at our record in the last two years with these tendencies. If Miami is able to do these categories stats show we can almost always come out victorious.

Have at Least an Even Turnover Ratio Each Game

   In my opinion this is the most important one. Our offense needs to sustain drives and not put our defense in short fields where points are almost guaranteed. Our defense needs to force more turnovers so our offense can tire out the opponent's defense and have more opportunities to score. Here is a look at our record the last 2 years when we have a certain TO ratio:

 

2009 Season

2010 Season

Positive TO W-L

3-2

3-0

Even TO W-L

3-1

3-1

Negative TO W-L

1-6

2-7

Final Record

7-9

8-8 (PIT Game)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Note: I'll never count that PIT game as a loss. Still pisses me off.) 

    Both seasons look pretty similiar, right? We are 3-13 when we have a negative TO ratio. We're 12-4 when it's at least even. What does that tell you? The offense needs to be careful with the ball and make smart decisions. The defense needs to make the most of their opportunities. If we do this we should have a great season.

   We finished 2009 17th with a -8 TO ratio. In 2010 we finished 30th with a -12 TO ratio. Teams that take care of the ball historically have successful seasons. Look at the 2008 Miami Dolphins. That team was definitely not that talented, but they played smart and took care of the ball. They finished first in the league at an amazing +17 and also finished first in the AFC East. That is an easy recipe for success.

   Weird Fact: The last time we finished top 10 in TO ratio (besides 2008) was in 2000, the last time we went to the playoffs (besides 2008). 

 

Get More Plays For Loss 

   Plays for loss, or PFL, is just a combination of tackles for loss and sacks. I did this because I think tackles behind the line of scrimmage are just as important as a sack. PFL makes teams more one-dimensional and can also swing momentum in a close game. Here is our record with PFL for the last 2 seasons:

 

2009 Season

2010 Season

Positive PFL W-L

4-3

6-3

Even PFL W-L

2-0

0-2

Negative PFL W-L

1-6

2-3

Final Record

7-9

8-8 (PIT game)

        Our team plays pretty well when we have more PFL's. Our record is 10-6. When we have less, however, we're 3-9. When we're even the game is a tossup and each team has a chance. We actually had a drop off in sacks from 2009 and also gave up more sacks than in 2009, but we still had 2 more positive PFL games. If Taylor can help bring a pass rush opposite of Wake and if our new offensive line can protect Henne better then we should have more positive PFL games and in effect have a better chance of winning. 

 

Be Effective on 3rd Down

    Having a high 3rd down % helps sustain drives and keeps the opponent's offense off the field. Last year our offense did a pretty good job on 3rd down, ranking 12th. But according to the table I did, whenever we were lower than our opponent in 3rd down % we almost never won. Take a look:

 

2009 Season

2010 Season

Higher 3rd Down %

7-4

6-3

Even 3rd Down %

 

0-2

Lower 3rd Down %

0-5

2-3

    Wow. When our percentage is higher than our opponent on 3rd down we are 13-7. If it's even or lower we are 2-10. It should also be noted the 2 wins in with lower 3rd down % was vs. the Steelers and the 10-6 win vs. the Jets, so both of those games could've been losses if it wasn't for our defense.

    In order for this team to get to the playoffs we need to be somewhere in the top 10 for 3rd down %. Look at the top 10 for 2010:

Saints, Patriots, Falcons, Chargers, Colts, Steelers, Bucs, Packers, Texans, Cowboys.

All those teams were playoff contenders last year (Texans had worst defense, Cowboys would've been with Romo). We finish in the top 10 we'll be a contender also.

Weird Fact: The last time the Patriots finished outside the top 10 in 3rd down % was in 2003. In that span, we've only ranked in the top 10 once.

 

Average More Yards per Play

    I think this is key because it shows if your team can move the ball better than your opponent. It also factors in "explosive plays" like long passes and rushes for 8+. Yes, I do consider 8 yard rushing plays to be explosive because it puts your team in a favorable position and also keeps the defense on their heels. Lets look at our record the last 2 years in certain AGPP, or average gain per play.

 

2009 Season

2010 Season

Higher AGPP

5-1

3-1

Even AGPP

0-1

1-1

Lower AGPP

2-7

4-6   

    Our team was not as explosive as it was in 2009, with 2 less higher AGPP games. But when we were we almost always win. When our AGPP is higher we are 8-1. When it's even or lower we're 7-15. Our defense was able to win games for us more often in 2010 when our offense was struggling under Dan Henning. Hopefully with Daboll in charge of a more explosive offense higher AGPP games will come more often.

 

Superbowl Champion Packers

    Now that we saw how it did for us the past 2 seasons lets look at Green Bay's 2010 regular season with these 4 categories:

 

2010 Packers

Positive TO W-L

7-0

Even TO W-L

1-1

Negative TO W-L

2-5

Final Record

10-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010 Packers

Positive PFL

7-2

Even PFL

2-1

Negative PFL

1-3

 

2010 Packers

High 3rd Down %

6-2

Even 3rd Down %

1-1

Low 3rd Down %

3-3

 

2010 Packers

Higher AGPP

8-3

Even AGPP

N/A

Lower AGPP

2-3

 

     The Packers just proved it worked. Whenever they had a positive TO ratio they were undefeated. They were 2-5 when it was lower. When they had more PFLs they were 7-2. When they're lower they are 1-3. How about sustaining drives? When they edged their opponents there they are 6-2 and when they aren't they are 3-3. How about being explosive? They were more explosive than their opponents in 11 games, winning 8 of them. They were 2-3 when they weren't as explosive. 

 

Conclusion

    These are proven keys to success for each game that if Miami can do all or even 3/4 of these they are almost guaranteed to win. The Packers proved this past season that you can get to the playoffs if you do it enough. With the Dolphins saying to be more explosive this season and this defense hopefully racking up TOs and more PFLs we can be scary good this season. Thanks for reading and if you're ever wondering why the Dolphins won/lost you can look at these 4 categories. GET EXCITED!!!! GO PHINS!!!!!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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