Obviously the biggest game of the season for us Sunday (we have to win one of next 2, and I'd prefer this one to have shot at 9-7 and playoff birth). What will we have to do to win the game Sunday. Here are my keys to the game:
1) Keep Tannehill upright. He will have to be protected and be able to see the field. This can be done in several ways. Playaction passes: I prefer the boot action to get him on the edge and give him run option. Screens to WR's: I think Wallace in the screen game is very under-used. Roll out game: Not just off play action, but designed roll-outs for Tannehill.
2) Defensive scheme. This is the area that concerns me most. I don't want to see Jimmy Wilson or Wheeler matched up with Gronk in the middle of the field. Or see them split an RB out and us move Misi or Ellerbe out there to pick him up. The Patriots always seem to use formations against us to dictate matchups. Use the KISS method on defense (keep it simple stupid) and put Grimes on the guy you want to shut down the most and Patterson on Gronk (since he is bigger corner).
3) Turn Starks, Wake, Jordan loose. Please for the love of everything right, put Wake and Jordan on the field together for 40-50 plays and let them get after Tom Brady. Also, I like Starks to have a big game as well as Solai and Odrick from the inside. If we are going to blitz, I'd bring Ellerbe and/or Rashad Jones as they seem to be best at getting to QB. Get pressure and press those young WR's. I think with Carroll, Grimes and Patterson we can man up.
4) Offensive scheme. Please don't go vanilla against New England. They will know our tendencies (slant vs the blitz or short yardage, zone running game with little to no boot action off it, Sims in game equals run, etc...). We have shown the talent to move the ball on anyone and I'd think we could against New England. I'd love to see zone read action with some pass off of it. Or moving Wallace around to get him in mismatches. I would think Clay/Gibson will have mismatches all over the field also.
I'd say if our offensive stats look something like this we win: Tannehill 30 pass attempts (4-5 shot plays) Wallace 7 Rec (4-5 off screens and 2-3 deep down the field) Hartline 4 Rec Gibson/Clay 10 Rec (they will draw the mismatch) Miller/Thomas: 120 yds rushing 2 sacks or fewer, no sack/fumbles
Now, go out there and play like we know we are capable of and send New England to losing 3 of last 4!!!