Dolphins Gameplan: Can the Dolphins upset the Patriots?
I will point out, however, that Miami is 34-15 historically at home in this series and that the South Florida September weather should also give the home team a bit of an edge.
When the Pats are on offense, expect them to attack the middle of the field in the air with their slot receivers, massive tight end Rob Gronkowski and running backs. Miami’s linebackers have not had a lot of success in coverage and it is debatable whether swapping Koa Misi and Dannell Ellerbe’s positions will make much of an impact.
The Dolphins will have to occasionally drop a lineman into coverage, move their safeties around and disguise their coverages in order to force Mr. Brady into some mistakes and create turnovers.
As much as the Patriots love to pass, I expect them to lean heavily on the running game on first down in order to get the Dolphins D on their heels. They have powerful running backs that are very capable of creating plenty of second down and short situations.
I trust Brent Grimes, Cortland Finnegan and Will Davis enough to focus on run defense more on most first and ten situations. Will Davis will most certainly get picked on, but you can expect him to be up to the challenge and get the home crowd fired up more than once in this game.
Last season the Patriots split their first down rushes and passes almost fifty/fifty and gained five yards per carry and seven yards per pass play. The team has to take something away.
If the Dolphins can keep the Patriots first down rushing average in the low 3’s, it will force the Patriots to throw the ball more, thereby extending the game and allowing the heat to do more of the work for the home team.
When the Dolphins have the ball, expect them to spread the ball through the air to their running backs, tight ends and wide receivers in a very similar fashion to the New England passing attack.
I do not anticipate the Dolphins to respect “Revis Island” one bit, nor do I think they should. He is a great candidate to draw holding and pass interference calls based on the way the game has been officiated this pre-season.
The Miami Dolphins will be moving Mike Wallace around and picking on the grab happy cornerback, who we all remember well for getting roasted by Ted Ginn Jr. He cannot handle that speed and every time they get the better of him it will be a huge psychological victory for the offense.
With Mike Pouncey sidelined and big Vince Wilfork plugging up the middle, I am not expecting much of a prototypical attempt at running between the tackles. It just would not make too much sense.
There will, however, be plenty of opportunities to run to the right side of the formation behind the younger, stronger run blocking side of Shelley Smith and Ja’Wuan James. This will set up big cutback plays for Knowshon Moreno in the new zone blocking scheme that will allow for some cut blocks at big Vince’s knees. Lamar Miller will get his fair share of touches too, as he is very much a home run threat.
Also, keep an eye on rookie Jarvis Landry in the return game, I sincerely doubt that the Miami Dolphins released Marcus Thigpen because of one bad pre-season game.
Prediction: Miami 31 – New England 23
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