This Sunday, Miami travels to Phoenix to take on the upstart Cardinals, who currently are one of only three teams undefeated this season. An impressive record for a team that was floundering horribly in preseason and are unsettled at quarterback, but for all that, this team has an undeniably strong defense and Larry Fitzgerald is always going to make the job of whoever is under center that much easier.
The Dolphins, however, boast a team with arguably an equally impressive defense, especially when it comes to stopping the run – an area where the Cards have been struggling. But if the Phins want to win this one they are going to have to get more pressure on the QB, Wake is yet to even record a sack. Kolb or Skelton will need to throw to move the chains against us, so look for whoever they have starting this week to air it out. Sean Smith has been good this season so far, but he will have his hands full with Fitzgerald. Marshall has struggled and could prove to be the difference in what I foresee as a very closely contested game, defense-dominated and low-scoring.
The Cards’ pass rush has been brutal – just ask Michael Vick – they will be bringing the heat on Ryan Tannehill. Thus, a much more disciplined offensive line needs to show up for this game. Tannehill has only been sacked four times so far this season, but much of the credit should go to him and his quick feet. His ability to evade the pressure coming down on him and to buy his receivers more time has been excellent, sadly, his receivers’ ability to make use of that time, not so much. Bess is as reliable as ever and is a great Number 3 guy. Hartline is decent, but following a great outing against the Raiders, was unable to play as well against a better Jets secondary. He was targeted nine times and came away with one reception, albeit a huge one that almost kept us within striking distance of a victory. He makes a nice Number 2 guy. The game was marred by horrible drops once again, and Tannehill lacks a solid Number 1 receiver. The depleted wide out core will be contending with a solid secondary, which includes the very talented Patrick Peterson. Hartline will likely be removed from the game for most of the night with this match up. Don’t expect Fasano to get open much as I anticipate him being required to try and stave off a mean pass rush for much of this game.
Should we get Bush back this would provide a much needed boost for the team, Reggie has been nothing short of brilliant and would have probably won us the game last week were he not injured. I still cannot believe that the NFL did not make more of the “Hot Sauce” comment from Bart Scott. Either way, Reggie will return in the near future and in the meantime Lamar Miller looks to be a more than capable back up in a similar style to Bush, averaging 5.9 yards a carry. Thomas will continue to feature as the bruising inside runner and capable pass protection, but serious questions about his ability to hold on to the ball are being asked as he has now lost 2 fumbles in just 22 carries.
It could be a chance for Dan Carpenter to exorcise his demons from last week. This will be a tough battle, and I believe that, once again, it will be a game decided by 3 points or less.