The Miami Dolphins (0-6) have a significant challenge ahead of them this Sunday traveling back to NYC to face the New York Giants (4-2). New York leads the overall series 4-2, winning the last meeting, 13-10, in London, England. This will mark the second trip to MetLife Stadium for Miami in the last two weeks, and facing a Giants team that is coming off of a bye week. New York is well rested and seems to be playing with a lot of confidence, something they lacked early in the season. It’s going to take a complete effort by the Dolphins to capture their first victory of the season, and that’s something that’s been holding this entire group back all season long. Here’s some of the things I’ll be watching for on Sunday!
1) Slow Down The Giants Pass Rush – One of the problems that the Dolphins are going to face is a consistent pass rush, not from one individual player, but a host of talented athletes who blend strength and speed when getting after the quarterback. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul leads the Giants with seven and a half sacks in his second professional season. Osi Umenyiora (five sacks in his ninth season) looks to be coming into regular season form after sitting out during the preseason. Mathias Kiwanuka (two sacks), Chris Canty (three sacks), and Justin Tuck (one and a half sacks) round out the impact players who will make it very difficult on quarterback Matt Moore. The entire offensive line must play their best game as a unit, winning on first and second down, so that this offense doesn’t expose themselves on third down! The Dolphins offense has not been efficient on third down (23.7 percent) and must find a way to stay on the field in that situation.
2) Defense Needs To Win The Early Downs! – The Dolphins defense must stop or slow down the run on first and second down to have a chance to be successful. Quarterback Eli Manning and the Giants offense hasn’t fared much better than the Dolphins offense on third down early in this season (31.5 percent), and that’s where Miami must create the turnover or get off the field. Six sacks last week on Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow was a great start, but Manning will get rid of the football much quicker than Tebow. The key will be for the defense to force throws into coverage and change the turnover ratio (NYG plus 7) into an advantage for Miami.
3) Touchdowns Instead Of Field Goals – To say it’s been a frustrating six weeks would be a drastic understatement in terms of scoring points! The Dolphins are averaging 15 points per game, and have had problems scoring touchdowns (only seven on the season) period. The Red-Zone has not been friendly to the Miami offense and the “chunk” plays have also disappeared as well. We need to have someone have that breakout type of game! A Reggie Bush run after catch, or Brian Hartline over the top of the Giants secondary would remedy a lot of what has been ailing this unit. Somebody needs to be the difference maker or this group must find a way to score 24 or more to win on Sunday.
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