I wrote something similar last week and I will repeat myself this week again; If the Dolphins lose on Sunday their season is over. That isn’t over dramatic it’s a fact. The Miami Dolphins at 5-4 have a very realistic shot at the playoffs. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. The fact of the matter is their path to the playoffs is very slim when you look at things realistically.
The goal is to get to 10 wins and hope the AFC West beat each other up so bad that one of the three top teams in the AFC West doesn’t get to 10 wins. So, the question is how does Miami get to 10 wins? The answer is simple and it’s very straight forward.
1) Miami MUST beat both the Rams and the 49ers the next two weeks. No if’s and’s or but’s about it. Could they lose one or both and still get to 10 wins…..sure technically. But in reality they are not.
2) In the last 5 games Miami must then go 3-2. Those are games against (in no special order) Jets (Bryce Petty), Arizona (Carson Palmer who is having an awful year), Buffalo (Tyrod Taylor), Baltimore (with the 29th ranked QB this year Joe Flacco), and the Patriots who might be resting guys come week 17.
Going 3-2 in those final 5 games isn’t impossible as the opponents they face (aside from New England) aren’t playing great football these days. But the only way those last 5 games matter is if Miami wins this Sunday vs LA. Against a rookie QB making his first ever NFL start and against an offense that just flat out stinks let’s be totally honest.
Now Miami has their issues coming into this game. No Mike Pouncey. No Branden Albert. The Rams defensive line is loaded and it is led by maybe the best defensive tackle in the game Aaron Donald so this is not the week to be short handed at center and guard. Miami sliding Tunsil over to left tackle is fine. But having back-up’s at center and guard is not good this week.
This is a game where I don’t care if Miami wins 6-3 and it’s a field goal fest. Any hope Miami has of making the playoffs hinges on winning this week and getting back home to start a final stretch of the season and the playoff push. Having to spend the whole week on the west coast isn’t ideal and losing maybe your two best offensive linemen in one week isn’t ideal. So that’s why style points go out the window and as fans we can’t nit-pick any slip up’s this week. It’s about being a thief in the night, just go in, do what ya gotta do and get the hell out. Get the hell out of LA with a win by any means necessary.
Because LA does have a poor offense the key to the game is not to give them easy points. The Rams can play defense and can shut down this Dolphins offense very easily. So here are to me 3 keys to the game.
1) Get Tannehill out of the pocket– Aaron Donald is no joke and facing a back-up center and guard is scary for the Fins. Do not let Tannehill be a sitting duck. Get him moving and get him far away from Aaron Donald. Roll the pocket please.
2) Jakeem Grant must protect the football–Miami got lucky last week with Grant’s two fumbles in that they didn’t cost the Fins the game. They won’t be lucky every week. In a game where points will be at a premium, Grant can’t gift wrap points for the Rams. We don’t need big returns, we just can’t have him hand over points. Fair catch it if in doubt and if he so much bobbles a ball this week get Landry back there for every other punt return.
3) Bring the Blitz–Jarrod Goff will be in his first real game ever and aside from his running back he has no weapons around him. Hit him often, hit him hard, hit him all day long. Make his first start one he will never forget. Beat him up and don’t give the Rams offense any signs of life this week.
No excuses this week people. Get a win and get the hell back to Miami and let’s make that playoff push!