The Miami Dolphins provided much promise, but have yet again failed to deliver in the winter months of the season. It was always going to be difficult, but the Dolphins loss to the Patriots on Sunday has all but sealed the team's fate.
However, providing owner Stephen Ross doesn't make a coaching change before the weekend (and that could very well happen, by the way), these last two games will definately be Philbin's last stand. Add into the mix that Miami finish with two home games, and it's real possibility the Dolphins will win both and finish with a winning record.
What am I trying to get at? Football still matters even though the team is out of the playoffs. Lets check out the opposition's depth chart.
Minnesota are led by rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who, despite their 6-8 record, has shown signs that he can be the long term solution at quarterback for the team. Not only does he make plays through the air (he completed 75.6 percent of his passes in the loss to Detroit on Sunday), he is also effective with his feet in the run game.
What is also evident from watching the Vikings on offense, is that Bridgewater likes to spread the ball out in the passing game. Against the Lions, he completed passes to eight receivers, with tight end Kyle Rudolph and receiver Charles Johnson headlining with seven catches for 69 yards and five catches for 72 yards respectively.
Running back Matt Asiata handles the responsibility as the leading running back, while Ben Tate is his backup. Both failed to make an impact against Detroit's top-ranked run defense.
|WR||Greg Jennings||Jarius Wright||Charles Johnson|
|TE||Rhett Ellison||Chase Ford||Kyle Rudolph|
|LT||Matt Kalil||Carter Bykowski|
|LG||Charlie Johnson||David Yankey|
|C||John Sullivan||Joe Berger|
|RG||Vladimir Ducasse||Austin Wentworth|
|RT||Mike Harris||J'Marcus Webb|
|WR||Cordarrelle Patterson *Probable||Adam Thielen|
|QB||Teddy Bridgewater||Christian Ponder||Chandler Harnish|
|FB||Jerome Felton||Zach Line|
|RB||Matt Asiata||Ben Tate|
On defense Xavier Rhodes looks to be developing into an important piece for the secondary at corner. Against Calvin Johnson, he helped shut down the wide receiver. Behind him, Harrison Smith provides much-needed help should a receiver get beyond his grasp. Excluding their game against Detroit, all season the Vikings have struggled defending the run, and will definitely be an area that the Dolphins will look to capitalize on.
|LDE||Brian Robison||Corey Wootton||Justin Trattou|
|LDT||Sharrif Floyd *Out||Tom Johnson|
|RDT||Linval Joseph||Shamar Stephen|
|RDE||Everson Griffen||Scott Crichton|
|WLB||Chad Greenway||Gerald Hodges|
|MLB||Jasper Brinkley||Audie Cole|
|SLB||Anthony Barr *Questionable||Michael Mauti|
|CB||Xavier Rhodes||Jabari Price||Shaun Prater|
|SS||Robert Blanton *Out||Antone Exum|
|FS||Harrison Smith||Andrew Sendejo|
|CB||Captain Munnerlyn||Josh Robinson||Marcus Sherels|
The Vikings must feel let down by the special teams unit last week as kicker Blair Walsh missed three field goal attempts. However, the team do look dangerous on kick and punt returns. Marus Sherels looked dangerous against the Lions, and had two punts returns for 37 yards and a 35 yard return. Cordarrelle Patterson also had a nice return in the game, returning a kickoff 51 yards.
|PR||Marcus Sherels||Jarius Wright|
|KR||Cordarrelle Patterson *Probable||Marcus Sherels|
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @AlexParish89.