Tag: Cincinnati Bengals

Dolphins Gameplan: Efficient offense and suffocating defense

The Miami Dolphins have a chance to even their record at 3-3 on Sunday, and keep pace (although it’s early) in both the AFC East and Wild Card races.  The Dolphins have played better than most people expected before the year started. They’ve been rushing the ball effectively, getting solid play out of their rookie quarterback, and playing very good defense.

On the Sunday, the Dolphins welcome in the St. Louis Rams who are also surprising people this year.  The Rams are 3-0 at home this season, but 0-2 on the road.  The Dolphins hope to get back to the .500 mark before their bye comes next week.  The Dolphins are not taking the Rams lightly and will need to give a solid effort to pick up another win.  Here is a look at the Dolphins gameplan for this week (at least, what we think it should be):

Pressure Sam Bradford

The Rams passing offense ranks 30th in the NFL, averaging just 183 yards per game through the air. Sam Bradford has struggled at times this year, mostly because his offensive line is among the leagues worst. The Rams have allowed 15 sacks, which is tied for 3rd worst in the NFL.  The Rams offensive line is so bad that they are starting Wayne Hunter.  You remember Wayne Hunter, right?  He’s the former Jets right tackle that makes Marc Colombo look like Richmond Webb.  The worst part is that the other Rams linemen aren’t much better.  Cameron Wake, Jared Odrick, and Olivier Vernon should have a field day teeing off on this line.

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Dolphins Division: 1 game separates 1st and last place in AFC East

The Miami Dolphins were all alone in the AFC East basement last Sunday with a record of 1-3.  The Dolphins entered Sunday 1 game behind the Jets, Bills, and Patriots (2-2) for first place in the AFC East.  After Sunday and Monday’s games, the Dolphins have some company in the basement….which also happens to be 2nd place.  The Dolphins victory, combined with the Jets and Bills losses, moved them into a 3 way tie for 2nd place in the AFC East, 1 game behind the Patriots.  This week, the Dolphins will hope to even their record at 3-3 and begin to put distance between themselves and the Jets/Bills, while keeping pace with the Patriots.

New England Patriots (3-2 overall, 1-0 division)

The Patriots made it look easy on Sunday against Peyton Manning and the Broncos.  The Patriots ran the ball as well as they threw it, which is scary.  The Patriots offense is hitting on all cylinders and their defense is playing good enough to win.  This week, the Patriots head to Seattle to play the Seahawks (3-2).  The Seahawks have surprised some people and could pull off an upset this weekend.  The Patriots are traveling across the country and will be playing in a stadium where the Seahawks have a very good, loud 12th man (the crowd).  If you think of this matchup as Tom Brady versus Russell Wilson, you’d have to give the Patriots the advantage.  But I wouldn’t completely discount the Seahawks in this game.  If the Seahawks could find a way to win, combined with a Dolphins win over the Rams, the Dolphins would own a share of first place.

New York Jets (2-3 overall, 2-0 division)

The Jets didn’t embarrass themselves on Monday Night Football like many of us had hoped.  They did lose to the Texans, but they weren’t run out of Met Life Stadium.  The Jets now sit at 2-3 and are missing their best wide receiver (Holmes) and best defensive player (Revis).  The Jets offense looks the way you’d think a Tony Sparano/Mark Sanchez offense would look: terribly ineffective.  It’s only a matter of time before Tim Tebow takes over. With every game that Mark Sanchez can’t eclipse 50% completions, the crowd chanting for Tebow will only get louder.  Rex Ryan will be forced to make a change sooner rather than later.

This week, the Jets head to Indianapolis to take on the ‘better than we thought’ Colts (2-2).  The Colts are coming off of their emotional win over the Green Bay Packers.  I’m sure the Colts and their fans will again be charged up for this game.  Last week, the Colts learned that their head coach, Chuck Pagano, was diagnosed with Leukemia.  I think the nation was rooting for them last week, to get a win for their coach.  If they can keep riding that wave of emotion, playing for their coach, they could send the Jets to a 2-4 record.  (cont’d on page 2, click below)

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Dolphins Gameplan: Rushing attack must be effective to beat Bengals

The Miami Dolphins have lost 2 straight overtime games, in which they clearly outplayed their opponent for a majority of the game.  The Dolphins will need to put those 2 losses behind them, as they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals on Sunday at 1pm.  The Dolphins must play well early, as they have the last 2 weeks, but they need to do a better job of finishing the game.  Their opponent this week is an opponent that is flying under everyone’s radar.  Did you know the Bengals are 3-1???  Did you know that they are currently on a 3 game winning streak, beating their opponents by an average of 10 points?

The Dolphins will have their work cut out for them this weekend in Cincinnati.  But, this is a winnable game because of a few of the matchups we’ll get into a little later on.  The key is for the Dolphins is to limit their own mistakes and force mistakes by the Bengals.  We’ve all heard (and said) that the Dolphins could be 3-1 if not for a few poorly timed mishaps.  The Dolphins can stand up on Sunday and make a statement that they aren’t a doormat anymore, despite their 1-3 record.  It’s time for the Dolphins to play up to their potential and beat a quality opponent on the road.  Here’s how they can do it:

Force the Bengals to run

This might sound crazy, but hear me out.  The Dolphins defense has given up the least amount of rushing yards in the NFL so far this season.  The Dolphins defense against the run has allowed just 56.8 yards per game, while holding opposing running backs to just a 2.4 yards per carry average.  The Dolphins front 7 has been ferocious.  I think the Dolphins need to make Benjarvus Green-Ellis beat them and not WR AJ Green who’s caught 27 balls for 428 yards and 3 TDs.  I think the Dolphins might bait the Bengals into running more, playing more nickel than they normal would.  Especially with Richard Marshall out, the Dolphins will need extra help defending the pass.

I know this is a backwards way of thinking.  Teams usually try to stop the run to make a team one dimensional.  But that doesn’t necessarily work, if you’re thin at cornerback.  Why force an opponent to attack your greatest weakness?  I wouldn’t suggest this, if I didn’t think 4 DL and 2 LB’s could stop the running game.  The Bengals average 3.8 yards per carry, which is in the bottom half of the NFL in that statistic.  The Dolphins defensive line is great and will win the line of scrimmage.  It will be Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett’s job to fill the holes the running backs are trying to hit.  (cont’d on page 2, click below)

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