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Pats-Dolphins Monday Night Preview

The Miami Dolphins are coming off a tough loss to the fierce rival New York Jets this past Sunday night, to put them at 2-1, and in a three-way tie for first place atop the AFC East division.

This week the Dolphins will play the other team that rests on top of the AFC East, in the New England Patriots, only this time the game will be on Monday Night Football on ESPN.

The Dolphins have a BYE week after the Pats game, and for them to be considered and elite team going into their BYE, for me this is a must win game. Sure, they can always lose the game in another close call, and rest easy at .500, and 2-2, but if this team wants to be taken seriously, and looked upon as true contenders, they must beat the top teams in their division, and right now the top dogs are the Patriots and the Jets. Plain and simple, this game is as close to a “must-win” game as it gets.

Here is what I’m looking for out of Miami for them to notch their third win of the season:

3. Attack the Pats Weak Secondary:

Last week the Dolphins put up over 400 yards of total offense against one of the top defenses in the league. This week should be no different for the Dolphins, as one of the Patriots most glaring weaknesses is in their inexperienced secondary.

Chad Henne showed last week that when the ball is in his hands, he can make plays through the air, and that the chemistry between him and his receivers is there. For some reason, Henne always shows up during primetime games, the Dolphins always are passing through the air successfully in those games, and even better yet, the Dolphins are always putting up a fight, even though they are the underdogs in most of these games. One of the chief reasons for this factor is the performance of Henne, and for this game to be close, and for the Dolphins to pull through with the win, Henne must be at the top of his game once again, and go after the glaring hole in the Pats lowly defense. Let him target Brandon “The South Beach Beast” Marshall 15-20 times on Monday. Let them do their thing. Let’s show the world that we brought in Marshall for a reason, and that was to showcase the skillset of both Henne and Marshall.

2. Run The Ball In The Redzone!

Last week the one thing that the Dolphins failed to do very well could have placed them at 3-0 instead of 2-1 going into Monday Night Football this week. Usually the Dolphins run the ball all game long, until the other team proves they can stop it, or the Fins are down too big a lead to be able to run the ball.

On Sunday night though the Dolphins found themselves in two short yardage positions inside the 5 yard line that could have been run situations. But the Dolphins passed the ball on all 7 plays in the fourth quarter that they had inside the 5. On both occasions the Dolphins were unable to put the ball in the endzone either. Now with the best short yardage converter in football right now in fullback Lousaka Polite, why in the world would you not give him the ball, and let him pound the ball? Heck, why not even give it to Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams and let them do their magic?

Plain and simple the Dolphins need to pound the rock this week. While the Patriots may have a weak secondary, it will be the team that runs the ball the best that will get the win. The Dolphins showed that they simply are out of coherts when it comes to passing on goal to go situations. So why not simply run the ball then? Why not run your bread and butter plays to get your RB’s some touches? This is what I am looking for the Dolphins to do this week, let their running backs win the game for them.

1. Jason Allen vs Randy Moss:

This is the matchup of the night for me. Why the Dolphins will not have their best cornerback (Vontae Davis) on Moss, is beyond me, but Allen has shown that at times he can get solid coverage on his opponents. Allen will now be going up against one of the best receivers in the league in Moss, and whether or not the Dolphins are able to win the game will come down to whether or not Allen can frustrate Moss enough for him to “shut things down” as Moss critics like to say.

The bottomline is that if Allen can get Moss out of his element early, and provide solid coverage early enough in the game, it should upset Moss enough for his performance to suffer the rest of the game.

Taking Moss out of the game is key for the Dolphins at this point. Taking Moss out of the game with single coverage would be even better. This would allow the Dolphins to focus on shifty slot receiver, and former Dolphin, Wes Welker. Welker is not the touchdown producer of the two receivers though. That is Moss. Welker is the guy to get you into the red-zone, while Moss provides a big target in the redzone. Decreasing Moss’s confidence early on, and not allowing him to gain momentum or his “swagger” will go a long ways to shutting down the high-octane Patriots passing attack.

Final Score:

I think ultimately the Dolphins use the extra day of practice, and fine tune their gameplan just enough that they beat the Pats on Monday Night, in their second straight primetime game at home. While Bill Belichick is one of the greatest coaches of all-time, the Dolphins have had the Patriots number over the past couple of years, and when Belichick does not have a reliable defense to count on, things can get ugly. That is why the Dolphins will win, 27-24, in yet another Monday Night Thriller in Miami.

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