After winning a close game against the Buffalo Bills, the Miami Dolphins will go into Week 2 against a much more tougher opponent in the Minnesota Vikings.
The game is in Minnesota, and the Dolphins always seem to have trouble on the road, whether the game is versus a quality opponent or not.
The Bills game should have been a tune up for this Week 2 showdown, but all it did was raise more questions than put answers to sleep.
This week I will be looking for the Fins to execute certain things in order to pick up the win, but no matter if they have their best game of the year, the Vikings are a quality team, and it will be tough no matter what to down Minnesota.
3. Keep Favre Guessing; Shut Down The Run:
The Dolphins currently possess the league’s #1 defense. Last week against the Bills it was our defense that carried us, and while the offense will have to pick up the slack, I feel that the defense will again have to win us this game.
The Vikings boast a better offense than the Bills did, and actually have some quality weapons to turn to, in Adrian Peterson, and Visanthe Schianco, as well as a reliable veteran quarterback in Brett Favre.
To win the game, or even keep themselves in the game, Miami will have to force Favre to roll out of the pocket and throw on the run.
Favre will be without his #1 target again this week in receiver Sidney Rice, and last week Favre struggled without him. If the Dolphins can clog up the middle with their front seven, and forve Favre to pass a little bit more than he would like to, then I see the Fins staying close in this game.
Containing the Vikings receivers should not be that big of an obstacle, seeing as how the Fins secondary performed exceptionally well against Lee Evans and the rest of the Bills receivers. But it will be tight end Shiancoe that could be the X-Factor in this game. The Dolphins have yet to prove that they have improved in the middle of the field coverage yet. Minnesota will provide a test, and Shiancoe could be a potential problem.
2. Feed The Beast:
Last week the Dolphins only dialed up three plays in which they went downfield, or had a long pass pattern. The one time that the Dolphins actually got the pass off (the other two times they got sacked) quarterback Chad Henne underthrew what should have been a touchdown.
Miami will need to take advantage of Henne’s arm strength and the depleted Vikings secondary this week. They will be missing starters Cedric Griffin and Chris Cook. Marshall should be able to take advantage of this opportunity, and get open on multiple occasions. I’m not just looking for him to get open in the slot this week again, I’m looking for him to go deep, and for Henne to try to hook up with him a couple times.
The Dolphins will simply not be able to win this game going against one of the best run defenses. Yes, the Fins have one of the best rushing attacks in the league, but the Vikings will counter with the Williams Wall, made up of both Kevin and Pat Williams, two of the best defensive tackles in the game.
So yes, the Dolphins will have to take advantage of the Vikings misgivings in the secondary, and attack what looks to be a chink in their shining armor.
1. Shut Down AP:
This one is rather simple. In order to force Favre to pass on the run like I mentioned above, the Dolphins will have to limit the yards after first contact that Peterson gets. If Miami is able to contain AP, and not allow him to get to the second level on a consistent basis, it should not only make Peterson frustrated, and force Favre to try and make plays on his own, something he is not as good at this point in his career.
Stopping AP is the #1 key to winning the game for the Dolphins because a domino effect will take place not long after. Favre will try and force his passes, he will be forced to scramble, and once he takes a couple of hits, will be getting frustrated himself, and making poor decisions.
The Dolphins will have some work to do come Sunday, but in the end I think they can pull out the win 23-20, with the game being close the whole game. I think the Dolphins have the edge overall offensively, and possibly defensively. But they will need to play their best football of the season for my prediction to come true.