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Miami Dolphins Vs. Arizona Cardinals: 3 Key Match-Ups

Let’s take a look at 3 of the most important battles, individual and team-wide, at determining the outcome of this week’s game.

Miami Dolphins v Arizona Cardinals

All I have to say about the Baltimore game is that I had not one, but TWO beers kicked over. The thought of $20 worth of cerveza flowing down the dirty undercarriage of M & T Bank Stadium brings a tear to my eye. After the Ravens scored on Breshad Perriman’s big play, I strongly considered drinking some of the fallen beer that had collected in an old nacho container. Dirty beer with chunks of backwashed nacho cheese was temporarily a better solution than watching the game, but I refrained.

Time to move on.

Some of the doom-and-gloom regarding the current state of the Dolphins has returned, and for valid reasons. You don’t lose by 32 points without there being some legit questions being brought to the surface. Is there now a “blueprint” to shredding the Dolphins defense?

Kiko Alonso and Jelani Jenkins both being listed as doubtful on the injury report makes a thin position anorexic. Neville Hewitt, Mike Hull, and Spencer Paysinger will get more snaps than usual (not sure if Vigil will get some snaps sprinkled in there), and will have every opportunity to make plays and show the coaching staff that they’re ready for the moment.

Let’s not ignore the fact, though, that this Miami Dolphins team is resilient, and has shown such throughout the season, in wins and losses. Consider the Baltimore game more of an aberration than a barometer. We have several things to clean up on both sides of the ball, no question. But I think it’s premature to write off the rest of the season.

3) Dolphins Pass Coverage Vs. Cardinals WR’s/TE’s

David Johnson is on my fantasy team - the dude is going to put up 150ish total yards and a TD or 2. He does it against every team. We can’t let him go for 300 total yards by any means, but we’re playing the “surrounding cast theory” here - you accept the fact that the stud will do his studly things, and you concentrate on taking out the role players that help contribute to the win. In this case, we’re looking to not let Fitzgerald, Gresham, and Floyd/Nelson get involved.

If the Cardinals try a short passing attack like Baltimore or spread us out, do we have the schematic adjustments and the manpower to neutralize it?

2) Dolphins DT’s Vs. Cardinals Interior Line

Although I’d love Ndamukong Suh, Earl Mitchell, and Jordan Phillips to relentlessly pressure Carson Palmer, I’m looking at this more from a running standpoint. Namely, we have to keep the Cardinals’ OL from reaching the LB’s. The crew we’ll be assembling at LB on defense this Sunday will be stronger in pass defense than run defense. If guards and centers are getting to Hull, Paysinger, Butler, and Hewitt, then it’ll be tough to keep David Johnson under 250 total yards. Remember, we’ll let Johnson get his, but we can’t let him go berserk.

Dolphins DT’s need to take advantage of 1-on-1 match-ups and demand double-teams.

1) Jay Ajayi Vs. Cardinals LB’s/S’s

We go from playing the #1 overall defense (Baltimore) to the #2 overall defense (Arizona). However, last week, the run game was working, the situation of the game caused us to drift into “Pass-Only Land” unfortunately. This week, I’m looking for Ajayi’s ability to break tackles to extend drives, establish time of possession, and get us in more manageable down-and-distance.

I believe Ryan Tannehill is an excellent play-action QB - establishing Ajayi helps keep play-action more viable, and our offense balanced.