The Miami Dolphins host the Houston Texans later this afternoon, with plenty of storylines to captivate even the most causal of fans. However, this is anything but a normal game for the Dolphins. This is a game in which the Dolphins have to break the norm.
Houston Undefeated All Time Versus Miami.
The Miami Dolphins have never beaten the Houston Texans. Never. This is the tenth year for the Texans, and the Dolphins are 0-5 all time against them. Every game in the series has been decided by seven points or less. The Dolphins could very easily by 5-0, but have not seemed to get the breaks to fall their way.
Dolphins 1-8 in Last 9 Home Games.
The Dolphins used to protect their home field no matter what. The crowd at Sun Life Stadium used to be rocking, and a big part of Miami's success. But, with the recent string of 7-9 seasons, and the economy as it is, Miami ticket sales are down - and the home field advantage is suffering because of it.
Dolphins Cannot Cover Tightends.
The Dolphins are horrible against tight ends. As Danny Tuccitto of the Football Outsiders said during our Q&A session 10 days ago:
"According to our play-by-play efficiency metric, DVOA, the Dolphins' pass defense against tight ends was fifth-worst in the NFL last season. In 2009, they were 24th."
Not a ringing endorsement for the Dolphins as they prepare to go up against Owen Daniels and, as TexansDC from Battle Red Blog, SB Nation's quality Houston Texans site, describe them, Kubiak's Tight End Army. If the Dolphins don't figure out how to guard a tight end, and do it fast, it will be a very long afternoon today, and a long 2011 season.
Dolphins Dropping the Ball.
The Dolphins have a habit of dropping the ball, on both offense and defense. Easy catches seem to be missed; even if quarterback Chad Henne hits a wide open receiver, it seems like it's 50%-50% right now on drop or catch. Then comes the defense. Cornerback Sean Smith is probably the best cover corner on the team, but he just cannot seem to hold on to the passes he gets his hand on. Overall, that's a common Miami problem, and one that needs to be changed.
Chad Henne's Inconsistency.
Over the past couple of seasons, we have all witnessed Henne have a good game, only to follow it up with a really bad game. Well, this week, Henne's coming off a stellar week 1, and Miami can't afford for him to have a bad game now. Henne has to prove that he can take another step forward, rather than falling two steps back.
For the Dolphins, the norm isn't always the right way. While the team prepares to meet with the Texans, they have to finally break the norm if they have any chance of winning.