Alright, we’re officially closer to .500 than the Miami Dolphins with our Pitiful Picks. We currently stand at 5-9-1, while the Dolphins sit at 3-8. With a good week this week, we could make it to 9-9-1…..Hey, it’s doubtful, but there’s a chance! We started out very slow, but we’re doing better of late (much like the Dolphins). Here we go:
New Orleans Saints -9 over Detroit Lions
The Saints are coming off a very efficient win over the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. They are looking to make their case for the #2 seed in the NFC, only 1 game back of the San Francisco 49ers. They are 5-0 at home, where they play much better than on the road. They welcome in the Lions, who are coming off of a disappointing loss on Thanksgiving to the Packers. The Lions will be without Ndamukong Suh and really showed their immaturity against the Packers. The only thing that worries me about this pick is the fact that the Lions have had 10 days to get ready for the game, while the Saints are on a short week after playing on Monday Night. Still, I think the Saints overpower the Lions to pick up their 9th win.
New York Giants +7 over Green Bay Packers
I watched a lot of the Monday Night game and saw the Giants get embarrassed. This Giants team is too proud to play another bad game. This week they’re at home and their offense should be able to move the ball against the Packers defense. Maybe part of this pick is my hope that the Packers fall from the ranks of the unbeaten (allowing the 72 Dolphins to pop their champagne). Like the game above, you have a team that played on Monday Night taking on a team that has had 10 days to prepare. But, I just have a feeling that they will play it close with the Packers, possibly knocking them off for the upset.
This Sunday, at 1pm, our (3-8) Miami Dolphins look to rebound against the (7-4) Oakland Raiders. Once again, the Dolphins will face off against a first place team, but once again they seem to match-up well against them. The Raiders seem to be in first place in the AFC West by default/lack of a team that seems to want to win. The Dolphins head home and will have at least one fan to in attendance as I will be at this game, but will I be expecting a win?
What to Watch For:
Raiders’ Offense vs. Dolphin Defense:
The Dolphin defense continued its success on Thanksgiving despite coming away with the loss. They only gave up 20 points and I would put 7 those squarely on Matt Moore/Mike Pouncy for blowing a snap at our own 5. They were also able to break Romo’s INTless streak and held Demarco Murray to only 87 yards on 22 carries. I feel that the Dolphin defense will continue their success this week against a shaken Raider offense. The Raiders have established the NFL’s 4th best rush game, but that was with Darren McFadden at the helm, but has been ruled out for Sunday. Michael Bush has taken over in his place, but is nowhere near Mcfadden’s level and will be facing the NFL’s 7th best rush defense. This will force the Raiders to rely on their pass game. Last week, against a solid Bears’ defense, Carson Palmer threw for 301 yards, but no TDs and 1 INT. I still think our secondary has work to do, but have been pick happy over the past three games. It won’t help Carson that, along with Darren McFadden, WRs Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford have been ruled out for Sunday.
Dolphin Offense vs. Raiders’ Defense:
The Thanksgiving game goes to show that this Dolphins’ offense needs every player to play well to have a chance and the three previous games shows what can happen when they do. I honestly think that the offense played a pretty good game against good Dallas defense. BUT, did anybody notice how Jake Long and Marc Colombo switched jerseys…and tattoos. Jake easily had the worst game of his very good career. I’m not stating him as a terrible player because he’s nowhere near bad, but you can’t have THAT bad of a game. Yes, Dallas has great rushers, but how many false starts did he have? No way it happens to him again, but it’s things like that that can ruin your chances. They will by no stretch be facing a powerful defense when the Raiders come to town. The Raiders enter Sunday with the NFL’s 20th overall pass defense and the 27th ranked rush defense. They have also have only held their opponent under 20 points once this entire season. Despite these poor stats, they were able to pick the Bears’ replacement Hanie 3 times last week, but also let him throw for 2 TDs. I’m excited to see this matchup in person.
It appears the Miami Dolphins will be without their starting right guard, Vernon Carey on Sunday. Carey is recovering from an ankle sprain that he sustained in the Dolphins 19-17 loss to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Carey has been the only Dolphins player to miss practice this week, so it appears he will not be able to go against the Raiders on Sunday. Replacing Carey will probably be either Nate Garner or John Jerry. The Dolphins will miss Carey, as the right side of their offensive line has been suspect even with him in the lineup. Carey hasn’t been as much of a problem for the Dolphins O-Line as RT Marc Colombo, but the right side simply hasn’t played well enough.
On the bright side, it will be interesting to see if it’s Garner or Jerry that gets the start in Carey’s place. Both are younger players who the Dolphins would like to learn more about. After all, Carey’s contract with the Dolphins expires after this season and it is unlikely he’ll return. So if Jerry or Garner can show that they can be an improvement at RG, it may make them a more attractive option for whomever is running the Dolphins in 2012.
I know, I know, the Suck for Luck train for the Miami Dolphins has long since left the station. Luck is going to be drafted by the Colts and they’ll have an elite QB for the next 15 freaking years. While it would have been nice for the Dolphins to have been in the position to draft Luck, they could still end up in a position to draft one of the top college quarterbacks. Which QBs are available to the Dolphins will depend largely on where the Dolphins finish in the standings and which QBs declare for the draft. After all, Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Landry Jones, and Robert Griffin III are all juniors. They all have the option of returning to college for their senior seasons. The Dolphins can’t control who enters the draft, they can only sit back and wait.
All the Dolphins can control is their final record. The Dolphins have been playing much better of late and are still fighting for Tony Sparano. I think there’s a better chance of snow coming down in August than there is of Sparano returning as coach. But that’s another story for another day. Sparano will continue coaching the way he coach’s, until he’s finally relieved of his duties. The players will continue to play hard, playing for their next contract. Fans will continue to cheer for good showings in the season’s final weeks. However, remember that every win that the Dolphins compile in the final 5 weeks, could end up being costly come draft time.
According to the South Florida Times, Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver, Brandon Marshall was involved in a cab fare dispute earlier in November. Apparently Marshall attended his Dolphins’ teammate, Karlos Dansby’s 30th birthday party and decided to take a cab home. First, let me say that’s good of Brandon, better to take a cab than to drive drunk. Did you hear that Brylon Edwards and Donte Stallworth?!
Marshall said he was very tired, found a cab and he was on his way….or so he thought. After falling asleep for some time, Marshall realized the driver was a bit lost and called him on it. The driver reportedly drove from the party to Miami, then to Fort Lauderdale….Apparently this is where things broke down. The exact communication between the Dolphins star receiver and the driver is not known. Marshall insists that he pleaded with the driver to take him home but grew frustrated and eventually got out of the cab….without paying his $142 fare. Marshall said he was trying to find a translator as the cab driver had a very thick accent. The driver insisted later that Marshall was trying to skip out on the fare. Marshall’s agent insists that Brandon is completely innocent of trying to skip out on the fare.
The Miami Dolphins have been without former Pro Bowl Kicker, Dan Carpenter for 2 games now. Shayne Graham has done a good enough job filling in for Carpenter, connecting on 4 of 5 field goal chances for the Dolphins. Well, it appears the Carpenter’s groin injury is feeling better, as the Dolphins released Shayne Graham earlier today. Maybe Reggie Bush let Carpenter borrow Kim K. over the long weekend to heal his wound? Irregardless, Carpenter is coming back to the Dolphins and we expect that somewhere in Davie, Tony Sparano just gave a field goal fistpump to himself.
While Carpenter might get the headlines, the Dolphins also brought back another old friend today. Ray Feinga has been promoted from the Practice Squad! If you aren’t familiar with Ray Feinga, he’s the Dolphins offensive lineman that has been waived and resigned 1,748,352 times….don’t believe me? Here’s a look at his transaction list from Wikipedia.com:
Is it just me, or does it seem like a month since the Miami Dolphins played a football game? Yes, I know it was just a week ago that the Dolphins lost to the Cowboys, but it just feels longer…There are still 4 days to go until the Dolphins welcome in the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. The Dolphins returned to the practice field yesterday, after having the weekend off, as they prepare for Carson Palmer and the Raiders. The Dolphins, by the way, are favored in the game by 3 points. I’m no betting expert, but when was the last time a 3-8 team was favored by 3 points against a 7-4 team? Anyway….onto the Miami Musings for this week:
Breaking Down Marshall’s GREAT Catch – ThePhinsider.com
The guys over at ThePhinsider.com do a weekly segment where they break down a key play in the previous week’s Dolphins game. This week, it’s the amazing TD catch by Brandon Marshall, where the defender is choking the life out of him. Great breakdown of one of the highlight reel plays of the Dolphins season thus far.
Meet-up for Sunday’s Game – FinsNation.com
The guys at FinsNation.com are holding a meetup this Sunday to watch the Dolphins/Raiders game. They are also conducting a charity food drive in conjunction with the event. For full details, click the link above. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it, but if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by!
Even the most die-hard Miami Dolphins loyalist has to admit there is something wrong with the current Dolphins team. The big question is whether or not the problem is a lack of talent or poor coaching. The real problem is, it could be a little bit of both. It’s rare that I agree with Armando Salguero, but he wrote a blog yesterday about Peter King’s Monday Morning QB post on Monday. Mando disagrees with King’s assertion that Tony Sparano will be a very good coach at whichever his next coaching stop is AND that whomever the next Dolphins coach is, will have a good talent base to start with.
As Mando points out, it’s not really possible for Sparano to be a very good coach and for the Dolphins to have a good talent base….Otherwise, why would they be 3-8? We’ve brought this up before, but we are no closer to getting an answer. Think about it, just for a second. If the Dolphins have a talented enough roster to be a good team, then the coaching is not what it should be. Conversely, if the Dolphins have a ‘heck of a coach’, then their roster must not have enough talent to be successful. As I said above, it could also be a combination of the two. Maybe the Dolphins have a decent enough talent base, which a great coach could turn into a contending team….Or perhaps Sparano is a good enough coach that could do more if he had more talent at his disposal.
When late December and early January roll around, the Miami Dolphins will most likely be conducting a search for a new Head Coach. It’s clear that Tony Sparano will not be able to lead the Dolphins to the playoffs this season, which will ultimately lead to his dismissal. It’s also likely that the Dolphins will be looking for a new GM to replace Jeff Ireland (hopefully). Towards the end of the Dolphins 0-7 start to 2011, it became a daily rumor that Sparano would be fired. Remember all of the “Dolphins reach out to Cowher” talk? Sparano putting his house on the market? Truth is, Sparano was probably 1-2 losses away from being fired in-season. At that point, there were only a couple of other places that looked like they’d be in the market for a head coach: Jacksonville, Minnesota, and possibly St. Louis.
Now? There are more jobs that could become available in addition to those places. San Diego has lost 6 straight games after starting 4-1. Norv Turner’s conservative philosophy cost him the game yesterday against the Broncos and may ultimately end up costing him his job. Before the season, many thought the Chargers would run away with the AFC West, as they had a talent laden roster. Entering week 13, it appears Norv Turner may be on the unemployment line. Joining Turner MIGHT be Andy Reid of the Eagles. The Architect and Contractor of the Dream Team appears to have lost his Eagles team and the fan base. There were chants yesterday at Lincoln Financial Field of ‘Fire An-dy’. After 13 season in Philadelphia, THIS might be his most disappointing effort yet. Then there is the New York Giants job….WHAT? Yes, you read that right. I believe that if the Giants fail to make the playoffs, Tom Coughlin will be out as the Giants Coach. The Giants started the season 6-2, but currently sit at 6-4 and have games against the Saints (tonight) and the Packers in the next 2 weeks. Another collapse could spell the end of Coughlin’s reign in NYC.
The Miami Dolphins’ record indicates that they are closer to earning the top pick in the draft than they are to making the playoffs. Yes, sadly the 3-8 Dolphins are only 3 games behind the Colts (0-10) for the top pick, but the Dolphins are 4 games behind the Bengals (7-4) for the last playoff spot. This reality has begun to set in among Dolphins fans…at least most of us. The fact of the matter is, the Dolphins will officially be eliminated from playoff contention with their next loss or the next Bengals win over an AFC opponent. If this was week 17, it wouldn’t be so bad…..But since there are 5 games left, it’s safe to say there will be no postseason for the Dolphins in 2011. This likely means that coach Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland will be gone when the season is over.
Having said all of that, it’s logical for Dolphins fans to begin to look to 2012. Who will the next coach be? Who will be the new GM? Where will the Dolphins finish in the standings…and more importantly the draft order. Right now, the Dolphins would hold the #5 pick in the draft. The Dolphins would pick after Indianapolis, St. Louis, Minnesota, and Carolina. Considering all of those teams will have recently drafted a QB, with Indy expected to take Andrew Luck, the Dolphins would have their choice of the other QBs. Those ‘other QBs’ could include Landry Jones, Matt Barkley, and Robert Griffen III. All of these QBs are juniors, so the Dolphins options will depend on which QBs decide to come out of college early.