Miami Dolphins (0-4) at Houston Texans (2-2)
Let's ignore the fact that the Texans are undefeated against the Dolphins in their history. Let's forget about how the Dolphins probably couldn't stop a good high school rushing attack playing as they have the past 4 games. Why? Well I want to take this moment and thank the heavens that Dolphin killer Andre Johnson won't be playing against this week. How much has Miami struggled to stop him? In just 2 career games, Johnson has 15 catches for 177 yards and a touchdown against them. So the Dolphins clearly dodge a bullet by no having to face one of the best and the most underrated wide receivers in the game today.
But before we get to the passing attack of the Texans, there's one issue that every Dolphin fan in the entire world will be watching closely. That, of course, is how the run defense fares this week after allowing 299 yards on the ground last week. Of course, the loss of Vonnie Holliday will hurt a little, as Rod Wright is likely to make his first career start a week after being active for the first time in his career. The defense will get a boost, though, from the return of Zach Thomas. Channing Crowder, who went down last week with an ankle injury, is looking likely to play, though he may be a gametime decision. But you know what? The injuries are no excuse. There's no excuse to allow Justin freakin' Fargas to run for 180 last week. And there would be no excuse to allow Houston to run all over them, either, regardless of who is back there.
Ahman Green is likely to be a gametime decision, as he's coming back from a knee injury and is going through a rough week as his stepfather passed away (prayers go out to him and his family, of course). If Green can't go, the it will be Ron Dayne shouldering the load. Either way, Houston has averaged just 89 yards per game on the ground and just 3.3 yards per carry. Seriously, if Ron Dayne averages something like 4.8 yards per carry on Sunday, I'll be friggin sick to my stomach. I just really can't see how this Dolphins defense doesn't come out fired up and stuff the run right from the get go. But at this point, would you be at all surprised if Dayne and Samkon Gado combine for 150 yards rushing?
Moving on to the passing game, let's talk about the quarterback before we dive into the health of Houston's receivers. Matt Schaub has played very well, and I for one am not surprised. He's got good touch on his passes and is accurate. So far this year, Schaub is completing 74% of his passes and has a rating of over 101. That's even more impressive considering the issues they've had with their health at WR. Like I said earlier, not having Andre Johnson play this week is a huge help to the Dolphins. They are also going to be without rookie Jacoby Jones, who is still recovering from a separated shoulder. Jerome Mathis, their 4th receiver and return man, is also banged up.
That means the two starting receivers will be Andre Davis and Kevin Walter. Neither strikes fear into the hearts of their opponents, but they aren't pushovers, either. Davis had 5 catches for 117 yards last week, including a 35 yard touchdown catch. Meanwhile, Walter had 6 catches for 77 yards. These two can be effective, so Miami's secondary better not take them lightly, though at this point I'd highly doubt that this team would take any team or player lightly. There's another weapon, though, the Dolphins will have to contend with. I'm talking about 2nd year tight end Owen Dainels, who is slowly becoming one of the NFL's best pass catching tight ends. Over the past 3 games, Daniels has 183 yards receiving on 17 catches. He's a guy who linebackers and safeties must always account for, as he is good at finding openings in the defense. Miami has done a good job so far this year defending the opposition's tight ends, though, and will need to continue doing so on Sunday.
Prediction to come tomorrow. Your thoughts below...