I realize that’s a bit of a lameish, Espnish a little over the top type of headline. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not true. The Dolphins have three games to play in the regular season, are currently the 7th seed, and for all intentions and purposes, aren’t allowed to lose again if they want to make it to the postseason.
A couple of things: I don’t know how true that is mainly because I don’t own a crystal ball, meaning I don’t know what’s going to happen with the Dolphins or any other teams. The Colts and Browns are in front of the Dolphins, and nobody is talking about the possibility that one of those teams might just go 1-3 in their final three games. I agree that the Ravens have an easy road the rest of the way with the Jaguars, Giants, and Bengals, but the Colts have the Texans, Steelers, and Jaguars while the Browns have the Giants, Jets, and Steelers. I know the Jaguars, Jets, and Bengals are the next things to pushovers at this point, but the point remains; the Colts and Browns are locks for the postseason.
But that still doesn’t mean that the Dolphins have any breathing room. They don’t. Like Liu Kang said “every NFL football team is responsible for their own destiny” We know if they lose then the chance of them making the playoffs even at 10-6 will be tough. Fortunately, the Dolphins have winnable games to end the year. I don’t care that the Patriots are a divisional rival, have owned the division for 20 years and that Belichick owns rookie quarterbacks. Brady is gone and this Patriots team is an average at best team. So here’s an early prediction: the Dolphins are going to take the Patriots to task.
Why do I think this? Because the Dolphins are flat out better than the Patriots. Since Tua was named the starter, the Dolphins have a better offense and Miami currently has the 2nd ranked defense. The Patriots have a quarterback that has only thrown five TDs this year and simply don’t do anything that scares anybody. On the other hand, Miami has a quarterback that is getting better every week even when he’s throwing to guys you’ve never heard of. Injuries are becoming an issue for the Dolphins, but hopefully, a few of these guys will be able to be a go on Sunday.
The thing about this Miami Dolphins team, which has Brian Flores running it, is that they’re made to withstand a ton of injuries. It’s why I don’t think you’ll see them go after big-time offensive free agents like Schuster and Galloway in the offseason. They’d rather have under-the-radar guys and try to hit on them and if they don’t the dropoff to the next guy isn’t that severe. That’s one of the subsections of the Patriot Way. Starters and backups aren’t far from each other in terms of skill.
However, one guy I’m glad to see making a Wolverine-like, possible, return to the lineup is this guy...
All Mike Gesicki does is catch touchdowns.pic.twitter.com/VjbKeIgmej— Roar Lions Roar (@RLRblog) December 13, 2020
Gesicki looked like he did a Riggs to his shoulder but it’s possible he might play. Could this be Flores, once again, playing Undertaker mind games with his former boss? Maybe. But I like it.
I would expect to see the same offensive line that the Dolphins have sported the past two weeks which is led by three rookies. They keep Tua upright for the most part, but they’re horrid in run blocking. The Dolphins are last in the league in rushing and it’s not going to get much better this year. That’s a fact. We need to make peace with that and work with what we got. If a Dolphin’s running back gets around 90 yards, that’s a major win for the team.
I expect Tua to continue to make strides regardless of who he’s throwing too. His mechanics and anticipation were on point last week and can be discussed by the genius that is Brian Baldinger.
@MiamiDolphins @Tua was blitzed and pressured by @Chiefs for 60 minutes. He made a lot of great throws throughout to give the #Dolphins a chance right to the end. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/1Cr8Dz7Lmg— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) December 15, 2020
Tua is getting better and it will be more fun when he gets a little more help to throw to. He doesn’t need top five receivers. He needs above-average receivers who are consistent.
We saw Tua build a rapport with Lynn Bowden Jr. That needs to continue to Gin Blosso once again. Bowden might be the slot receiver that this team, desperately, needs. A guy who Tua can count on getting open on 3rd and short who can make a guy miss. A Davone Bess clone would be ideal. Maybe Bowden Jr can do that.
You’ve, probably, heard all week that Belichick is 21-5 against rookie quarterbacks. Remember, he did that with Tom Brady in his back pocket. He always had teams that could score points. He doesn’t have that anymore. That’s why I couldn’t care less about that stat. Tua has a good team around him and will handle any exotic look he sees.
I think the biggest key to the game will be to see if the Dolphin’s defense has learned anything from the last time they played the Patriots all the way back in week 1. I think we know they did but we still have to see it. Lately, the Dolphins defense has stuffed the run. The Dolphins haven’t allowed more than 90 yards rushing in their last three games. The Patriots’, Damian Harrison, has 177 yards in his last three games. He was on a hot streak but now, not so much.
Ogbah, Lawson, Van Ginkel, Gruiger-Hill, Sieler, Wilkins, and whoever comes after Newton needs to be disciplined in their pass rush lanes. I saw it every week, but it’s even more true this week. You can’t give Newton any confidence. Don’t let Cam go around you and let him know early that he’s in for a long day.
Cam Newton was the guy who tore the Dolphins a part anyway back in week 1. I just don’t think he’s physically or mentally at the level that he was back in September, so I’m honestly not that concerned about him running on the Dolphins. You don’t have to have a Michael Scofield level of intelligence to see that Cam Newton is in pain. Just look at how it’s hard for him to get off one knee.
The Dolphins have improved, immensely, and the Patriots haven’t. It’s not much harder than that. You might even get some Stidham action. Chris Simms will love it.
I think the Dolphins take the Patriots to the woodshed and leave them for dead. That’s how much I think they’re going to win by. Miami is favored by two and you should be putting everything you have on them covering because they’re going to clamp down on the Patriot's feeble offense. Miami’s offense may not score 30, but 20 is all that they're going to need. The Patriots have nothing to play for but the hooded one is still there and will have a good game plan ready. Miami and Tua will outfox it with their play.
Dolphins 29 Patriots 9
Miami’s playoffs do start this week and that’s fun. The end of the season should come down to week 17 against Buffalo. Exciting times are ahead and who knows. When week 17 is over, the Dolphins might have a favorable matchup against someone in the playoffs. Enjoy your weekend and make some good food for Sunday. You deserve it.
By the Way- Sorry for not having a write-up after the Chiefs. Life stuff got in the way and I was occupied with that on Monday.
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