This Sunday at 1pm, the (4-8) Eagles from the city of “Brotherly Love” head to South Beach to face our (4-8) Miami Dolphins. It’s shocking to think that these two teams have the same record. The Eagles had some high hopes after acting like Dave Hester from Storage Wars during the offseason. Nnamdi Asomugha: YUUUP, Vince Young: YUUUP, Steve Smith: YUUUP. But they have seen like profit in the W/L columns. I can honestly say that their records are the only similarity between these two teams, well maybe that they will both be looking for new head coaches come the offseason. Being from PA, I would like to really like to point out how disappointing the Eagles have been after deeming themselves the “Dream Team,” setting themselves up for the Super Bowl, but have come up lame and are seemingly quitting, BUT as much as I would like to point this out…I won’t…whoops. But, Vick is back and that may bring back a second wind for the Eagles that could turn it on any week.
What to Watch For:
Eagles’ Offense vs. Dolphin Defense:
What another dominating performance again this past Sunday against the Raiders. They played some passionate defense and it was easy to see that they were having fun. During a commercial break heading into the 4th quarter, the entire defense began to dance to the music that was being played at the stadium. They held the Raiders to only 46 rushing yards; which will be important to do against one of the league’s best rushers this week in LeSean McCoy. Add Vick to the mix and their rush game because even more scary. Vick being back may make the world of difference for this team, not only on the field, but just for their mental state. They have been playing uninspired football and DeSean Jackson has all, but shut himself down due to contract issues (I think somebody needs to get DeSean a drink…NO NOT YOU VONTAE!). There’s no doubt that the Eagle offense has the potential to be one of the best in the league, but have not lived up to it yet. Our Miami D must continue their success again this week and try to extend their 4 game pick streak. It will be vital for Dansby and Burnett to stop the run and contain Vick as much as possible.
Dolphin Offense vs. Eagles’ Defense:
The Eagles’ defense is easily their weak point, though the stats would not say so. They enter Sunday ranked 13th against the pass, 17th against the rush, but 22nd in pts/g. They have only held their opponents under 20pts 4 times this season. I do project that they will not be holding our offense to under 20 this week. Our offense has played lights out the past few weeks and I think the credit has to be spread around to the entire offense, just like Matt Moore has spread the ball. I have been saying it the past few weeks, but I love how many different players are getting involved in the offense. We are no longer a hand the ball off and try to run no matter what team, but rather becoming more and more dynamic each week. They are even finding a nice balance between Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush, who is really answering his critics, in the backfield. If you look at the best offensive teams in the league, Pats and Packers, you never know who is going to have the big game week-to-week and that’s what the Dolphins are starting to do. The Eagles have great players in the defensive back and makes this spreading around even more important. Should expect to see a lot of crossing routes by Bess and exploited matchups by Fasano.
Two Minute Drill:
Dolphins’ Key to the Game: Efficiency. It will be important to cash in when we are able to. I’m not saying the Eagles have a great D, because they don’t, but they will have a good enough D and O that makes it important to take advantage when the opportunity presents itself. Also, Linebacker play must be huge this week.
Eagles’ Key to the Game: Don’t Be Fancy. The Eagles do have some great big play weapons, but they have tried to rely on them far too much this season. They are sleeping (eh, “dream team,” see what I did there) on their best offensive player; LeSean McCoyy or “Shady?” I think the Eagles would be far more successful sticking with runs and short passes; which would open the possibilities for big plays.
Dolphins’ Player to Watch: Davone Bess. He has quietly broken of his mini-slump he was in at the beginning of the year. With the majority of the defense’s focus going to be on Bush and Marshall, he may be able to slip through the cracks for a decent game again this week.
Eagles’ Player to Watch: Mike Vick. I think that Vick is the player to watch not necessarily based on how he will perform, but rather what his presence could do on two fronts: 1. Whether hurt or 100% you have to game plan differently for Vick. That always adds to the difficulty of the week and can get you out of your comfort zone in the game. 2. This may be the emotional boost the “dreaming” Eagles. Vick is just something to keep a spy on.
How it plays out: Hard to Predict. Determining how this game will actually play out is very difficult because you do not know what Eagle team will show-up. If they actually play like they want to be there, they are hard to stop, but it seems that they are at the brink of total shutdown mode (if not there already). I think Miami rides our momentum, gets a few early stops, and a first quarter FG and TD to set the tone.
Prediction: 24-17 Miami. The record of these two teams may be the only thing that they have in common. One had high hopes, sputtered, and, let’s be honest, are in the process of quitting. The other, had no expectations at all, had major struggles to start, but fought, clawed, and scraped themselves together and have never quit. I’ll take that second team all day and twice on Sunday.
As always, PhinsUp! -John
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