Miami Dolphins (0-4) at Houston Texans (2-2)
Sure, the Dolphins need a win. We all know that. However, this offense hasn't been too terrible this year. In fact, their average of 327 yards per game is the most they've averaged over the last 7 seasons. Their 19.8 first downs per game is also the most they've averaged over the least 7 seasons. So clearly, progress is being made and I do think that some of that credit has to go to Cam Cameron despite all the Cam bashing that's been going around. His changes along the offensive line also seem to be working out, as they are definitely getting better each week. The progress is clearly visible. Don't believe me, then just ask Ronnie Brown what he thinks. Now if this offense, and mainly Trent Green, can limit the stupid mistakes (turnovers and penalties), then we could really see some points being scored by this unit.
Again this week, the key is going to be Ronnie Brown and the running game. Cam needs to stay with it despite the fact that yards may be a bit harder to come by this week. This Texans defense is only allowing 80 yards per game on the ground and just 3.4 yards per carry. That means that this week's game will be a very good test for Ronnie and the offensive line. The Houston front 7 are very quick and athletic and are rather underrated if you ask me. DeMeco Ryans stars at middle linebacker and is a great run stuffer. The line is anchored by Mario Williams and rookie Amobi Okoye, who are both quite quick and athletic (especially Okoye considering he's a DT). I think where you need to attack this line is by trying to run it at them rather than around them. Ronnie and the offensive line will have to sue their power to try and force this the Texans' fromt 4 off the line of scrimmage. To be honest, I'm not sure how effective this will be, but I think Cam needs to be patient with the run game and try to wear Houston's defense down. Also, as you watch this game, keep in mind that Ronnie Brown is trying to become just the 2nd player in NFL history to total over 200 yards from scrimmage in 3 consecutive games. In one career game against Houston, he has had success, picking up 49 yards on 12 carries as well as catching 8 passes for 62 yards. Let's see if Ronnie can get it done this time around.
Like I said, running room may be hard to come by on Sunday, so there's a chance it may come down to how well Trent Green and company can move the ball through the air. This Texans' secondary has been victimized a lot so far this year, giving up 230 yards through the air per game while allowing the opposing QB to complete 70% of their passes. This secondary also has allowed 6 touchdowns while only picking off 3 passes. So there's clearly a reason to be optimistic about Miami's passing attack this week. Trent Green, in 3 career games against Houston (all with KC), Green has completed 64% of his passes for 708 yards and 7 touchdowns. He has thrown 4 interceptions against them, though. OF course, that was a different Trent; a pre-concussion Trent. I guess we'll have to wait until Sunday to see what Trent we can expect this time around.
I do think that Miami's receivers will be able to get open against this Texans' secondary. Dunta Robinson is a good corner, but they do lack depth. DeMarcus Faggins is the other starting corner, but there were rumors swirling this week that he may actually be benched. Behind Robinson and Faggins is Jamar Fletcher. Yes, the same Jamar Fletcher that was drafted in the 1st round of the 2001 NFL Draft bu the Dolphins. So clearly, there are plays to be made against this secondary. And again I ponder if this will be the week that Ted Ginn finally gets involved. You'd think that the lack of depth in Houston's secondary is favorable for 3 and 4 wide receiver sets. So maybe it is the week. Eh, who am I kidding? I better not get my hopes up.
The other half of the preview will be up tomorrow. As always, your thoughts below...