Week 4 – Seahawks at Dolphins Preview
Here it is, likely the toughest game of the season is this weekend! Maybe second behind the home game against KC, but we’ll worry about them when it’s time to play them.
Miami in Week 3 had an opportunity to Put Up or Shut Up against Jacksonville after starting 0-2, but they were able to get the job done to prevent them from getting to 0-3, which is a huge hill to climb to make the postseason had Miami lost.
With the injuries that the San Francisco 49ers are facing, Arizona yet to be proven, and the Rams up against the cap and coming off missing the playoffs, it seems as if the Seattle Seahawks are in the driver’s seat in the NFC West at this point in time.
Seattle’s first 3 games of their season have all been shootouts, they are definitely “letting Russ cook.” It’s crazy, in the first few years of the Russell Wilson era, the Seattle Seahawks were known to have that dominant defense, led by their secondary, which was “The Legion of Boom.” Their offense was middle of the pack while their defense led the way.
With all the turnover on the Seahawks roster the last few years, now their biggest strength is their offense. Russell Wilson is 1st in TD passes, 4th in the NFL in passing yards, a 77% completion percentage. Wilson’s teammate DK Metcalf, is currently 3rd in receiving yards, and Tyler Lockett is 10th. Two Seattle receivers in the top 10 in yards means that the Dolphins have to buckle down in the Secondary against the two-headed monster at WR.
Speaking of Secondary, Miami CB Byron Jones(groin/Achilles) was listed as doubtful against the Seahawks this Sunday after missing last Thursday’s victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Another injury in the secondary is S Kavon Frazier, also listed as doubtful for this weekend. It looks like S Clayton Fejedelem will suit up for the first time this season after experiencing a pectoral injury throughout training camp and the first few weeks of the season.
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) October 2, 2020
For the Seahawks, their prized trade acquisition S Jamal Adam’s will not suit up against the Dolphins this Sunday, dealing with a groin injury. Other Seahawks players were listed as out, CB Quinton Dunbar(knee) and 2020 1st round pick LB Jordyn Brooks(knee). One player that many were expecting to be out, but was listed as Questionable was RB Chris Carson, after having his knee twisted last week in Seattle’s win against the Cowboys last week.
Updated Seahawks injury report for this week. Carson a full participant and Hyde limited indicates Carson back to starting duty. pic.twitter.com/DZai6vp05J
— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) October 2, 2020
Miami’s defense was encouraging last week, sacking Gardner Minshew 4 times, including one for a fumble/recovery, an interception, and only allowing Jacksonville to only convert 30% of their third downs, consistently giving the ball back to the offense.
This matchup though is a different story. Miami can’t afford to have Russell Wilson have a whole bunch of time in the pocket, as well as the secondary, staying with their man. Miami has been in a somewhat similar position as Seattle defensively, giving up a lot of yards in the air, averaging 8.8 yards allowed per pass attempt(most in the NFL). Unlike Cam Newton and Josh Allen, most of Russell Wilson’s work on the ground are not designed runs for the most part. So there is space in the open field after the pocket collapses, Russell Wilson is not afraid to run.
I am not 100% sure if the Miami Dolphins are a team designed to keep up in a shootout, but if they do. They are going to have to attack the Seahawks in the air, and their defense has allowed the most passing yards through 3 games so far this season, in the bottom 10 of sacks on the quarterback. Coaches are watching the tape, opposing teams have only attempted 67 rushes through 3 games against Seattle’s Defense(3rd least), because of how badly Seattle has given up yards in the air.
Yet, the Seattle Seahawks are 3-0. Able to handle the Atlanta Falcon on the road in Week 1, stopping Cam Newton and the Patriots at the 1 to end their game in Week 2, and surviving a comeback attempt by the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3, where Russell Wilson led the Seahawks on a game-winning drive, capping it off with a 29-yard TD pass to WR DK Metcalf with 1:47 left and their defense coming up big with a game-sealing interception in the red zone.
The theme through all 3 of their games so far this season? Shootouts.
Now let’s turn to Miami. Offensively, Miami has been encouraging. Not perfect, but encouraging. The offensive line, which has been an issue for years, has only given up 5 sacks this season. You can argue that two of those sacks were on Ryan Fitzpatrick. Seattle has had a hard time getting to the Quarterback this season, Miami’s offensive line definitely has an advantage, and will likely keep Ryan Fitzpatrick clean. Rushing is still a work in progress, but it’s encouraging to see what former 7th round pick Myles Gaskins has been able to do running and receiving. Likely the route that I believe Chan Gailey should try is keeping feeding Gaskin. Why? To keep Seahawks QB Russell Wilson on the sideline, and in the hot South Florida heat while wearing their dark jerseys.
Keys to the game:
- Put pressure on Russell Wilson: Miami’s pass rush came alive against Jacksonville last week, and it’s going to have to continue if Miami wants to prevent Russ from cooking.
- Control the clock: Again, I don’t believe the Dolphins are a team who can keep up with the Seahawks in a shootout, but they do, they’re going to have to keep Russell Wilson on the sideline. Converting 3rd downs, not snapping the ball early with the play clock, continuing to get the ground game going(which still needs work), and not settling for FG’s.
- Don’t allow the 2-headed monster at WR get separation: We saw how Miami dealt with WR’s Stephon Diggs and John Brown in Week 2. These receiving corps is better. The old saying goes, we cannot fully stop Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, we can only hope to contain them. This means if a CB gets beat, for the safeties to be ready to bring in some help and not get beat because we know that they’re going to attempt some deep passes downfield. Will the Miami secondary be up to the task?
Prediction: Seattle 30, Miami 24
Though Miami is at home and Seattle is a west coast team traveling east, their talent will outweigh Miami’s. Seattle is one of those west coast teams who know how to win on the east coast with a 10 am PST body clock. Thought the sun will be shining on the Seahawks sideline and Seattle will be wearing their home blue’s, the talent outweighs Miami. Russell Wilson is on a whole new level where he is destroying secondaries, scrambling in the pocket, and going on undesigned runs, and I don’t see it changing this Sunday. With a banged-up secondary, it’s going to be a tough task to contain Lockett and Metcalf. If the pass rush is developed and Wilson is unable to get passes off, then we could possibly see a different result.