By: Jorge Hinojosa
5 in a row, can the Dolphins make it 6? I believe they can, let’s talk about the details:
When? 4:05 pm ET at Mile High in Denver, CO.
How we got here?
The Dolphins come into this game after what can aptly be described as an ugly win against the Chargers. While the end result was never really threatened, the Dolphins did struggle to move the ball after the Karras mishap as they were up 14-0. After a lackluster 3rd Quarter, both coordinators put their foot back in the gas and defeated the visiting Chargers 29-21
When the Broncs have the ball.
It is still unclear if 2nd year QB Drew Lock will be starting against the Dolphins as he is dealing with an injury, back up Brett Rypien could end up playing. The 2nd year player out of Boise State has thrown for 2 TD and 4 Int in limited action. Whether it’s Lock or Rypien the Dolphins are probably not as concerned with the Broncos passing game as they are with their running game. The Broncs are averaging 4.3 yards per carry in the season (16th in the league) but over the last 3 games that number has actually gone up to 4.9 (8th in the league in that span). Meanwhile they are 28th in yards per attempt at yards per attempt and over the last 3 weeks its been worse at 5.8. The two main weapons they do have in the passing game are Tua’s Alabama teammate, Jerry Jeudy who has 34 receptions for 552 yards and has been on a role lately, getting at least 4 catches and 65 yards over the last 3 games but only 1 TD over that span.
Even though he is a very talented rookie, X and Byron Jones should be able to contain him and minimize his damage. The other key weapon is TE Noah Fant who has 35 receptions for 367 yards but has been on a downward trail in the last few weeks (only 3 receptions in each of the last two weeks, and only once has he gone over 3 in the last 4). The issue that the Dolphins will have to deal with is the one-two combo of Gordon and Lindsay in the backfield. As Flores mentioned both are good at running and receiving and it will be interesting to see how the Dolphins LB match-up against them. If will be very helpful if the offense can help them out and it gives them an early lead.
When the Dolphins have the ball:
Last week the Dolphins were up by 14, marching down the field and apparently were on their way to an easy win when a mistake happened. The ball slipped from Karras’ hand, was recovered by the Chargers and Tua had to make a TD saving tackle. Up until that point the Dolphins offense had been magnificent because it was unpredictable, in-rhythm and aggressive. If the Dolphins are able to execute well, and find ways to get the ball in the hands of the play-makers quickly (Grant, DVP, Perry and Gesicki), and as long as Ahmed continues to be consistent running the ball, then the Dolphins should once again find success.
However, it is worth mentioning that Fangio will likely have some surprises for our rookie QB and safety Justin Simmons is still elite. The Dolphins need to keep Tua clean, and allow him to thrive with the quick passes that he has proven he is great at. However, the Dolphins receivers must continue to make plays after the catch. We saw glimpses of that last week with Perry and Grant but they need to be more consistent.
What to expect?
Like Carter and I mentioned in the preview podcast this week, there is no reason for the Dolphins not to dominate this game. The Defense should be fully healthy and ready to attack and tee off on Rypien or Lock. If the Dolphins offense is able to get off to a hot start and allow the defense to attack, and take away the Broncos running game early, they the streak should be safe. I am looking forward to seeing "Don" Jason Sanders in that thin Denver air… New NFL record for longest FG, maybe?
Please welcome Jorge Hinojosa to the PhinManiacs team! Please follow him on Twitter @FranciscoHinoPe