Preview: Saints (5-0) at Dolphins (2-3) (1 Viewer)

eels

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From NOSReview.com

On paper, you wouldn’t call this a marquee match-up. But, as they say, you don’t play the game on paper. After a rough 0-3 start, the Miami Dolphins have won their past two games. First, they beat up on the Bills and last week edged the Jets 31-27. They’re now 2-3, good enough for 3rd place in the AFC East.

Looking at the statistics, two things stand out about the Dolphins:

1. They rush for 177 yards a game, which is 1st in the NFL.
2. They allow 76.4 rushing yards per game, 3rd in the NFL.

In just about every other category, the Dolphins are an average team. Offensively, that’s why they’ve gone to the Wildcat formation so many times. They have a young quarterback in Chad Henne (93.4 QB Rating), who has played quite well while subbing for the injured Chad Pennington, who is out for the year. Still, the Dolphins love to run the ball to protect their young QB. Ronnie Brown (443 yards, 6 TDs) and ex-Saint Ricky Williams (316 yards, 2 TDs) are the main weapons for coach Tony Sparano.

The Miami defense has been so-so against the pass, giving up 225 yards per game which is good for 18th in the league. They feature a pretty nice pass rush, with defensive end Jason Taylor (4 sacks) back in town after a year in Washington. All-pro loudmouth – I mean linebacker – Joey Porter has managed just 6 tackles on the year, but is still a talent.

Meanwhile, Saints fans know what their team has been up to. A 5-0 start and dominating performances on both sides of the ball. Coming off that impressive win against the previously undefeated Giants, one would think that a trip to Miami would seem more like a vacation. Not so.

I see this as a tough game for the Saints. Not because the Dolphins are a superior team, but because of the way they play. Gregg Williams and his defense will need to show some patience, as Miami likes to dink and dunk with their passing game. They don’t take many chances down the field (their leading receiver, Davone Bess, averages a meager 7.6 yards per catch). Speedy WR Ted Ginn, Jr. averages just 12.2 yards per catch. As a result, you may not see the Saints get to the quarterback as much as they have in recent weeks.

No doubt that the Dolphins’ strategy on Sunday will be to keep the ball away from Drew Brees. So stopping the run and forcing Chad Henne to throw the ball will be of utmost importance.

The good news is that when Brees is out there, he should be able to throw the ball effectively. There are simply too many weapons for the Dolphins to cover. It should be interesting to see how well the Saints’ duo of Pierre Thomas (284 yards, 3 TDs) and Mike Bell (263 yards, 2 TDs) establish the run against that tough Miami front seven.

This will be a physical battle of wills as each team tries to force the other into being one-dimensional on offense. It’ll be a good challenge for the Saints and a win will show that they can maintain focus after beating a high-profile team like the Giants a week earlier.

Keys to the Game
1. Get the Ball First
– The Saints have had the ball first in all 5 games, and have scored each time. Get up early on the run-happy Dolphins and that will allow the defense to get after young QB Chad Henne.

2. Keep ‘em Honest – The Dolphins do a great job in stopping the run. But Sean Payton has been great this year about sticking with the gameplan. They don’t have to run for big numbers, just enough to slow the pass rush and give Drew Brees time to hit his targets downfield.

3. Control the ‘Cat – Sure, Miami may gain some yards out of the Wildcat formation. They run it better than anybody. But the Saints just need to make sure not to allow any real big plays, much like they did against the Eagles in Week 2. Keep the play in front of you and make them work for every yard they get.

4. Cover those Kicks - The Saints’ kickoff and punt coverages weren’t great last week against the Giants. When you’re facing an offensively-challenged team like the Dolphins, making big plays on special teams can be crucial to keeping your opponent down. Odds are the Dolphins won’t be able to drive it 80 yards down the field every time out. Limit the return game and you increase your own chances for victory.

5. TCB – Take care of business! The Saints are one focused effort away from being 6-0. Play hard, play smart.

Prediction: Saints 31 – Dolphins 17
 

Chairman_LMAO

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The coolest thing about this season so far is that so many people are saying things like this:

I see this as a tough game for the Saints.

Then following it up with something like this:

Prediction: Saints 31 – Dolphins 17

And it makes perfect sense. :smilielol::9:
 
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eels

eels

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For real! It may end up like those games against the Jets or Bills. It's close for awhile but this team just seems to have a way to pull away at the end.

I think it in the end, as long as the Saints don't turn the ball over they should just outlast Miami.
 

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