The Miami Dolphins come into Week 16 hoping to at least keep the hope of a second-straight non-losing season alive. Miami will not be coming out of the season with an above .500 record this season, but they could still get to that even mark if they are able to beat the Kansas City Chiefs this week, as well as the Buffalo Bills next week. It is a small consolation for a season that did not live up to expectations - even with the caveat that the Dolphins have not yet been eliminated from playoff contention.
What do the Dolphins have to do to beat the Chiefs on Sunday. The answer seems fairly simple, and one you could probably guess: stop Kareem Hunt.
And, it may not be as hard as it sounds - because they need to stop the Chiefs from getting Hunt the ball, not stop Hunt once he has the ball in his hands. Over on Arrowhead Pride, SB Nation’s Chiefs team site, a FanPost cleanly broke down exactly what Hunt has meant for the Chiefs this season. What was discovered was the cliche of needing to get Hunt more touches in order to win.
User Mitko writes in the FanPost:
Kareem Hunt with at least 15 touches (Rushes + Catches):
NE: 22 touches, 246 yards, 42 points, Win
PHI: 16 touches, 109 yards, 27 points, Win
LAC: 18 touches, 183 yards, 24 points, Win
WAS: 25 touches, 121 yards, 29 points, Win
HOU: 32 touches, 116 yards, 42 points, Win
OAK: 22 touches, 117 yards, 30 points, Loss
DEN: 25 touches, 68 yards, 29 points, Win
NYG: 21 touches, 77 yards, 9 points, Loss
OAK: 28 touches, 138 yards, 26 points, Win
LAC: 31 touches, 206 yards, 30 points, Win
Kareem Hunt with less than 15 touches:
PIT: 14 touches, 110 yards, 13 points, Loss
DAL: 13 touches, 61 yards, 17 points, Loss
BUF: 12 touches, 26 yards, 10 points, Loss
NYJ: 12 touches, 63 yards, 31 points, Loss
To recap, when Hunt gets the ball at, least 15 times the Chiefs are 8-2 and average 28.8 PPG. When Hunt gets less than that they are 0-4 and only average 17.7 PPG. That's a big difference.
The Dolphins have to shut down Hunt early in the game, to make the Chiefs go away from him later in the game. Mitko writes, “In the Buffalo game, Hunt rushed 11 times for only 17 yards. That's abysmal, so they stopped running.” That has to be the goal for the Dolphins at the start of Sunday’s game.
Miami needs to attack Hunt hard early in the game, and they have to make sure they are covering him in the passing game as well as bottling up the run. If they can get the Chiefs to look for other answers on offense, they could move the Chiefs to 0-5 in games with Hunt receiving fewer than 15 touches.