Saturday, September 18, 2010

GAME PREVIEW: Dolphins vs. Vikings

Sorry for the delay folks, truth is, I wanted to wait til the end of the week for an update since the Dolphins roster still isn't set and it's hard to gauge what will happen on Sunday without knowing who will play.

As flat as the Dolphins offense was last week versus Buffalo, the Minnesota Vikings actually looked worse.  In fact, if it wasn't for Visanthe Shiancoe, the Vikings' tight-end, they might have come away with zero positives after their matchup with New Orleans.  But they've had ten days since that last game to prepare for this one.  They know they have a legit middle of the field target in Shiancoe.  They know they have one of the best work-horse running backs in the league in Adrian Peterson.  And they figured out that they need to utilize Percy Harvin more in the regular offensive gameplan (something they didn't do last week to help me in my Fantasy Football League).
The Primitive Weapon/Neanderthal/Mississippi Jeans Commercial will have had more time to work with his receivers.  Greg Camarillo will have learned more of the offensive scheme.  Altogether, the Vikings should be a completely different team when they face Miami.  And they will attempt to run the ball down Miami's collective throat.

As for the Dolphins, they come into Sunday's game with the number 1 overall Defense in the league - albeit a task completed versus the Bills and after only one week - still an impressive showing for a Defense with so may questions and more than half the starters being different from a year ago.

But the Vikings will be a much tougher opponent than Buffalo primarily because of their Defense.  The front 4 alone can wreak havoc, making it unnecessary to load the box with 9 players.  This will close down some passing lanes that are usually open downfield.  The Dolphins best bet here is to unleash some of the secret Wildcat plays along with several underneath passes to Brandon Marshall and Anthony Fasano, in an attempt to get the safety to creep up.  Then go deep to Ted I don't know who to throw deep to, maybe John Nalbone?  Patrick Cobbs?

If they can figure out that element, they should be fine offensively.  The rest of the game will rely on 3 defensive MUSTs:

1.  They MUST pressure Brett Favre.  Hit him, grind him into the turf, sprain a finger or two on his throwing hand, etc.  

2.  They MUST keep Adrian Peterson under 120 yards.  I know that sounds like a lot but with the reduced weaponry in the passing game, Peterson could get up to 35 carries, and a measly 120 yards is anemic for that amount of reps.

3.  They MUST contain/prevent big plays.  Stop the run, pressure Favre, and the Vikings will have no choice but to run screens to Percy Harvin and the running backs.  If they can prevent first downs more than they give up, this tactic will not work.  At no point should Harvin take the ball 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage and make a 30 or 40 yard gain.

If the Dolphins Defense can do these 3 things, and the Offense can put points on the board with more consistency, the Dolphins will be 2-0.

My Prediction:  Dolphins 23 Vikings 21

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