The future of the NFL will be on full display tomorrow when the Andrew Luck led Indianapolis Colts host the Ryan Tannehill led Miami Dolphins. This will be the first time in NFL history two top ten draft picks will face off in their rookie season when both teams have winning records, and is just one of two contests this week featuring two teams with winning records. Yet, this game has largely been ignored in the build up to Sunday.
It's been rated as mediocre, or barely watchable. Yet, Luck and Tannehill are the future of the NFL. They are the faces that when Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers fade away will be ready to take their place. And, if that's not good enough, those two quarterbacks are making an impact today. Currently, both the Dolphins and Colts are in playoff positions within the AFC. The winner tomorrow will be in prime position to make the playoffs.
A win for the Dolphins would move them into a tie for the AFC East lead with Brady and the New England Patriots.
But, the game is being ignored. It's not the "sexy" matchup for the week. Instead, CBS seems continue to ensure nearly the entire country sees Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos visit the Cincinnati Bengals.
SB Nation's Matt Ufford calls the game "thoroughly mediocre" in his "Week 9 Watchability Index," which you can see below.
ESPN is still busy trying to explain the Dolphins' destruction of the Jets last week in terms of how the Jets stumbled into their bye week to notice this week's game.
This game will match a 9th ranked passing offense and 17th ranked rushing from the Colts against the Dolphins' 27th ranked passing defense and 2nd ranked rushing defense. The Colts are currently 24th in the league in scoring average, putting up just 19.4 points per game this year, while the Dolphins are fifth in the league, and top in the conference, allowing just 18.0 points per game.
Flipping sides of the ball, Miami's 22nd ranked passing offense and 11th ranked rushing attack will face Indianapolis' 7th ranked pass defense and 27th ranked rush defense. The Colts are allowing 24.4 points per game this season, 22nd in the league, while Miami's offense is scoring 21.4 points per contest, 19th in the NFL.
The Dolphins and Colts should be a highly entertaining game between two rapidly developing teams. With the love of rookie quarterbacks this year, you would think a match up like this would excite more people. However, the game is being buried, and, unless you live in Florida or Indiana, you aren't going to get to see it.
So, the future of the NFL may be on display this weekend - and it's a future that seems to be making a case to say it's here now - but no one seems to care. I guess as Dolphins fans, we should probably be used to that by now.