Friday, October 1, 2010

GAME PREVIEW: Patriots vs Dolphins (Monday Night Football)

Well if last week was the game against our most hated rivals from an emotional standpoint, this week's game is against the rivals with a more historically-based hatred. Especially in the last 15 years or so. I like to refer to the Pats as the 'Bastards who just keep winning".  They've rarely had the best overall team on the field, but they've always had the QB and offensive line and all else falls into place.  But despite Tom Brady's big new contract extension, the truth is he's been slowly falling apart physically and the only thing keeping him relatively healthy right now is lack of time of possession.  The Pats defense cannot get off the field, and their offense strikes quickly.  I honestly don't think Brady would hold up if he had to be in the game for 35+ minutes.

And thus, the question of how to do just that must be on the minds of the Dolphins.  Back in the day when Judas Taylor used to harass Brady regularly, an oft-omitted part of the story was that the Pat's QB was on the field a lot and we got several pass-rushes per drive on him that helped increase the defensive stats.

Now of course, we don't want our defense on the field for ages getting tired out just so Brady has to play more minutes.  We definitely don't want extended drives by the Patsies resulting in scores either.

But there is ONE way that we can force the Pats into having to play their aging and aching and increasingly skinny (is it just me or does he look in worse shape than his draft photo?  Does this guy EVER lift weights?) quarterback putting him in harm's way, thus increasing sack counts and potential turnovers.

Have you guessed what it is yet?

It's something the Dolphins don't usually do, especially under the SpIreland regime.  It is...SCORE FAST and SCORE ALOT.  The last time the Dolphins did this was in 2008, when they unleashed the Wildcat - those scoring drives were all less than 3 minutes long -  and in the second game of the same year where we matched the Pats scoring TD for TD until the referees started remembering which team pays their salaries and gave Randy Moss a gift or two.

Right, so if the Dolphins can come out in 2 minute mode and march down the field quickly and score, then Brady will have to be held by the defense.  Then on drive number 2 we come out in no huddle again.  Then the Defense has to work it's magic again.  As long as we prevent that o-line and Brady from getting too much rest, we should knock the Pats down a peg or two.  I think our defense can sustain longer than the Pats offense.  And I think Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, and Anthony Fasano can put up 35 to 40 catches in this game alone (granted of a shorter ypc percentage, but completions nonetheless, which means movement of the ball).

The quick passes will loosen up the defense for deep balls and power runs up the middle - at no point should the Dolphins force runs to the outside or screens.  For one they're not good at it and it's the one play I see the Pats being able to defend precisely.

All we need now is the execution, and for the Bills to show up versus the Jets and surprise everyone.

My Prediction:
MIA 38  NE 35

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