Arrowhead Stadium will host one of the coldest games in NFL history tonight when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Miami Dolphins. One of the lazy narratives you’ll see regarding the quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and the Dolphins is that they are a warm-weather team, and don’t have what it takes to go out into the cold and play a run-heavy grind game.
The Dolphins had similar circumstances last year when they played the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo in the regular season and the playoffs. Understandably, Tua only played one of those games, but he played about as well as you can, given the snowy conditions, going 17/30, 234 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. The snow didn’t bother him, but the temperature wasn’t nearly as bad as tonight, with close to zero degrees and a wind chill of negative twenty or worse.
When asked if he wanted to try out gloves for tonight’s games, Tua commented, “No. I’ll just see what it feels like without gloves. I just think the whole thing is a mindset.”
That’s the key. It’s a mind game when it comes to the cold, and you see players warming up with no shirt, convincing themselves it’s not that cold. I grew up a South Florida kid, so I’d take on the heat rather than the cold. Both suck, but there are ways to stay cool or warm. It’s a two-front war, and half of the battle is in your head.
Most players on both teams have played in the cold and snow at some point, so the weather should affect both sides equally. The funny part is that the Dolphins have the advantage in my eyes if it turns into a ground-and-pound game.
The Ace up McDaniel’s Sleeve
The Miami Dolphins are the most injury-riddled team in the league right now, and it’s impressive that they’ve gotten to eleven wins despite that, but the most healthy position they have going into tonight is running back. They’ll have the franchise’s top touchdown scorer in Raheem Mostert returning, the NFL’s leader in yards per carry in De’Von Achance, and Jeff Wilson Jr. whose style is exactly what you need for a game like this.
The Dolphins are usually a pass-first offense, whether that’s stretching the field in the intermediate and deep range or getting short completions on early downs to set up short second and third downs. This game will feature the polar opposite, which will feed into the Dolphins health and run-blocking strength.
The trio of Mostert, Achane, and Wilson should see 30+ carries with Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle on the outside, keeping the defense from stacking the box too much. We should see run-heavy play calling with a mix of play-action passes for big chunks. That’ll likely be the game plan for both teams, but the Kansa City Chiefs don’t have the horses to keep the Dolphins defense from stacking the box themselves.
We’ve seen head coach Mike McDaniel go pass-happy in big games, coining the name, Madden McDaniel. This game should keep him disciplined in the run game and keep the offense geared toward its strength, especially if Jaylen Waddle isn’t at one hundred percent, and I don’t expect him to be.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that in perfect conditions, the Dolphins could and would give the Chiefs problems with the passing attack and that Tua is a big game player, but having the conditions condense the Dolphins playbook will give the Dolphins the edge.
It’s time to unleash the three-headed monster.
Let us know in the comments if the weather gives the Dolphins or the Chiefs the edge.