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Reasons for optimism heading into Monday night battle

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I said on Sunday that while it's great to have the Monday night game, it stinks to not have a Dolphins game to watch on Sunday afternoon.  But the absolute worst part of having the Dolphins play on Monday night is the fact that we all have to get through Monday before we get to enjoy the game.  To some, that means having to go to work.  For others, it means having to go to school.  Either way, the wait really sucks.

More importantly, it seems like us Dolphin fans really need this game to get here and really need to see a solid performance out of our team.  They played poorly last week in Atlanta, creating a lot of dissension among fans and making this past week a tough one to be a Fins fan.  But nothing brings us fans together like gameday.  This past week felt like forever but the wait is almost over.

And with that, I wanted to share some reasons for optimism as we head into a primetime battle with one of the NFL's best teams:

  • I think Sunday was a great example of how it doesn't matter if - top to bottom - you are the better football team.  And don't kid yourself here - the Colts are a better football team than the Dolphins.  But just look at the results of some of today's games - the Texans beat the Titans, the Bears beat the Steelers, the Jets beat the Patriots, and the Bengals beat the Packers.  The bottom line - the team that executes better will win.
  • The Jets (who, unfortunately, are for real) showed just how consistent pressure on a quarterback can ruin an offense that isn't a good running team.  Well the Colts are not a good running team and I suspect the Dolphins will be able to contain Joseph Addai and Donald Brown.  But they must bring pressure and force Peyton Manning to throw the football before he wants to.  And I'm not talking about just a four or five man rush.  Bring six players at times.  Overload one particular side of Indy's offensive line so that a pass rusher can come through unblocked.  This Colts offensive line is average best.  They had trouble protecting Manning in the preseason.  The Jaguars only got to him once last week - but the Jaguars aren't a good pass-rushing team (they couldn't get to Kurt Warner at all on Sunday).  And even better for Miami, Indy's starting LT Charlie Johnson is nursing a back injury and isn't 100%.
  • Jason Taylor makes his "official" return to Miami.  Yes - he's played two preseason games already at Land Shark Stadium.  But now they count.  And JT will be welcomed back by thousands of screaming fans on national television.  Call me crazy, but would anyone be surprised if Monday's game turned into one of those classic "JT domination" games where he just makes big play after big play?
  • I trust Tony Sparano.  I remember after the Arizona game last year, Tony told the media, "It's not always going to be like this."  The way he said it and his look when he said it really made me believe it.  Well I get feeling that Tony's going to have this team fired up and ready to play on Monday.  I hate to use the phrase "better prepared" because it makes it seem like the other team will be unprepared - which is never the case in this league.  But I expect Sparano to have this football team ready to go from pre-game through the final whistle.  He knows how to motivate this team and his coaching staff knows how to gameplan for an opponent.  I guess I'm just saying that I would trust Tony Sparano and this staff over Jim Caldwell and his staff.

We're less than  24 hours away, folks!  Get excited and be sure to join us for our live game thread.  Look for a pre-game fanpost to get posted sometime in the early evening with the official game thread going up at 8 pm eastern.

Go Dolphins!!!