It's finally here people!! The start of the regular season in the NFL is finally here. The vast wasteland of the summer has ended and fall, the greatest season of the year, is just around the corner. Everything is right with the world when the pigskin flies with purpose again.
Alright, enough of that. Here are the Top 10 Reasons Why Miami Will Make The Playoffs In '13:
10) Brandon Fields: I know what you are thinking, a punter? Well this is arguably the best punter in the league and he is a weapon that few teams have. He changes field position on a consistent basis and will be one of the reasons why the defense (see below) will be improved.
9) Jared Odrick: Odrick was one of the worst DE's in the league last year and it wasn't his fault. He has been playing out of position since Miami drafted him in the 1st round in '10. Now, he is going to be playing his natural position, 3-Technique DT in a 4-3, and he is going to shine. He is going to provide consistent pass rush up the middle of the field. Put him on the same side of the DL as Wake (see below) and opposing offenses are going to have a hard time blocking both players.
8) Reshad Jones: Last year Jones was one of the best safeties in the league. He got paid this summer and he is only going to get better. He is going to be the Safety that opposing QB's are going to avoid like the plague. And if opposing QB's do challenge him, he is going to make them pay. Jones is going to generate more TO's this year with more INT's and forced fumbles. There is also going to be a TD or two in his future this year. A trip to Hawaii (I think they still play the Pro Bowl) is in the cards.
7) Brent Grimes: Simply put, he is the best CB Miami has had on the roster in a long time. I don't know if he is a lockdown CB, but he is awfully good and that will allow Jones and Clemons space to roam and help the other side of the field. Grimes will generate more TO's not only because he is athletic, he is smart.
6) Joe Philbin / Mike Sherman: The training wheels are going to come off the offense this year. This team is going to be aggressive offensively. They are going to go for the jugular and step on the neck of a downed opponent. No lead is too large. Expect a lot of big plays on offense and it starts with the play calling.
5) Lamar Miller: He is going to burst on the NFL scene this year at RB. You know how many RB's had at least 10 rushing TD's last year? 8. Of those 8, 4 were first time starters. Miller will join that 10+ TD group this year because: a) Miami was a productive running team last year and the OL is better this year, and b) Mike Wallace (see below) is on the team driving the safeties back so they aren't in a position for run support.
4) Cam Wake: Simply put, he is going to be a beast again this year. He might as well buy property in Hawaii for his annual trips to the island and the Pro Bowl. I expect him to have his best season yet. Why? Because I think Miami is going to have more leads this year. I think that is going to force teams to throw more and that gives Wake more opportunities to rush the passer. When Odrick collapses the pocket, QB's are going to funnel toward Wake and he is going to make them pay dearly.
3) Mike Wallace: Speed at WR is the 2nd most important position for a WCO. Miami has that (finally) with Wallace. Not only will Wallace open up the passing game because of his speed, allowing the underneath routes to be open, he will also open up the running game. Gone are the days of "8 men in the box" because if teams do that, Wallace is going deep. This one addition to the offense is going to open so many things up that I could do an entire post on the subject.
2) TO's, TO's, TO's and More TO's: Coaches have been preaching it. Players are talking about it. It's going to happen. Miami's defense is going to generate 30+ TO's this year. The pass rush is going to be improved, getting sacks and fumbles. With the pass rush, the coverage is going to improve getting tipped balls and INT's. Jones and Grimes are going to be ball hawks. And most importantly, Miami's offense is going to give the defense a lead forcing opposing offenses to become one dimensional. This defense is going to be fun to watch this year.
1) Ryan Tannehill: QB play is vitally important and Miami will get very good play out of a QB for the first time since Chad Pennington in '08 (Miami's last playoff appearance). Anyone that has followed my posts in the past knows that I am a big fan of QB rating. A QB with a rating of 90+ gets their team in the playoffs more times than not. Tannehill will have a 90+ rating this year. That, plus this one other stat I want to share. Last year there were 9 QB's in the league that had at least 20 TD passes and at least a 2:1 TD : INT ratio. Of those 9 QB's, 7 of them were in the playoffs. Tannehill will be one of those QB's this year. Tannehill is going to have a 90+ rating, 20+ TD's, and a 2:1 TD : INT ratio. That smells like a playoff QB to me.
Bonus Reason: Miami has been a slow starter in September in recent history. Not this year. Miami is going to get out of the gate quick and have a winning record at the Bye Week. That's going to set them up nicely for the middle of their schedule which is quite a bit easier. Miami is going to be in this from the beginning of the year and not having to play catch-up.
It's going to be a great year and I am looking forward to watching it live. This is my first post from my new house in Florida. Now, I can go to all the games with my season tickets because it is a drive away instead of a flight. CT1361 will be in the house a lot this season and I couldn't be happier!!