By: Jason Sarney
The 7-7 Miami Dolphins come off their sixth straight win after defeating the Jets on Sunday and look forward to a Monday Night matchup against the 7-7 New Orleans Saints. This is a very rare matchup as there have only been 12 games between these two franchises in NFL history. In case you are wondering, the series record is a dead-heat at 6-6.
As he continues to prove, head coach Brian Flores heats up as the weather cools, as he is 18-7 in games after Halloween, with a 10-3 mark in November and an 8-3 record in December. Miami heads into Monday as the all-time leader in MNF appearances with 85. Their current record is 42-43. A win would pull their Monday Night Football record to .500, and their seasonal 2021 record to a winning one, for the first time since Week 1.
The Dolphins have played on Monday Night Football the most times in NFL history, as Monday will be their 86th.
DEN - 75
You can say a lot is at stake for this game including and most importantly the Dolphins’ playoff lives. You can clearly tell the second half of the season is a different team in production, and while the first half saw an under-performing defense, since Week 9 the unit has been a revelation.
MIA DEF NFL Rankings since Week 9:
Sacks - 1st w/ 25
Red Zone DEF -2nd at 31.3%
OPP Passer Rating - 2nd at 60.3
Total DEF - 2nd w/ 272 yards per game
Yards Allowed Per Play - 2nd w/ 4.4
Scoring DEF - 3rd w/ 13.2
3rd-Down DEF 4th at 32.6%
Passing DEF- 5th w/ 184.3 ypg
In Weeks 9-15, MIA's offense ranks well within the Top-10 in several categories:
Red Zone Off - 3rd at 66.7%
4th Qtr scoring T-5th w/ 9.3
4th Qtr Passer Rating 6th w/ 113.1
3rd-down offense - 7th w/ 44%
The Dolphins will also get rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle back, who was activated off the Covid List earlier in the week. Waddle is still on pace to hit an NFL rookie record of receptions. He is tracking to catch 104 balls, which would break Anquan Boldin's record by 3 catches. In what would hope to be 16 games. In just 13 games played, Waddle has already put up Miami's 5th best receptions mark in a single season, tied with Brandon Marshall and Mark Clayton, who each caught 86 passes in their full seasons.
More News, Notes, and Nuggets:
-Miami local boy out of Norland High School Duke Johnson, was signed to the Dolphins practice squad on Oct. 26, 2021. Johnson made his first NFL start for his hometown Dolphins, in his 7th year in the NFL at his hometown stadium last week vs. the N.Y. Jets. Johnson had a career-day, totaling career highs in carries (22), rushing yards (107) and rushing TDs (2).
-Tua Tagovailoa is completing 69.9 percent of his passes this year, which is a single season Dolphins record and the best mark in the NFL this year at the moment.
-Miami has limited opponents to 250 total yards or less in three consecutive games, which the team hasn't done since Oct. 16, 1994 to Nov. 6, 1994.
-The Dolphins have limited opponents to less than 200 passing yards in three consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 11, 2007 to Nov. 26, 2007 and have held opponents to less than 300 passing yards in 7 consecutive games for.
-They have held opponents under 400 yards of total offense in nine consecutive games, it's longest streak since Jan. 1, 2017 to Nov. 5, 2017.
-Emmanuel Ogbah has 10 passes defensed in 2021. It's a career-high for Ogbah and the most by an NFL defensive linemen since 2017 (Cameron Jordan). He also had a sack and a fumble recovery against the Jets Sunday.
-In his 3rd NFL season, Christian Wilkins has totaled 64 tackles (36 solo), 3.0 sacks, 3 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. He also caught a touchdown lined up at fullback in the Week 15 win vs. the N.Y. Jets. His 64 tackles rank fourth among all NFL defensive linemen in 2021.
Andrew Van Ginkel has recorded a QB Hit in 9 Straight Games. 2.5 sacks in his last 6 games and has 8 QB pressures in those last 6 games. He had 3 Pressures against the Jets Sunday with a sack.
Zach Sieler had his 1st sack of the season against the Jets, however, this run stopper and pass disruptor is key to Miami’s defensive line. Sieler has 45 tackles this season and has forced a fumble and recovered a pair this year so far.
The last 6 games Michael Palardy has placed 14 punts inside the 20, 6 inside the 10-yard line and 2 inside the 5-yard line.
Nik Needham played every defensive snap on Sunday against the Jets. Filling in for Jevon Holland in a primarily single-high free safety role, Needham played phenomenally. Believe it or not, this was the first time he has ever played free safety in his football career.
The Dolphins look to get to 8-7 on Monday Night, against a team who just beat Tom Brady and his Buccaneers.
It is only Wednesday, but is everybody ready for some football?