ANALYSIS: How the Sunday Games on November 16 Helped and Hurt the Miami Dolphins

Patriots at Colts.
First up, the obvious game that concerned us most was the Patriots going to Indy for a road game.  This was a game that all Dolfans had their eyes on, because Indy was a good team (allegedly) playing on their home turf with a lot to prove. An Indy win would have put us only one game behind the Patriots, so obviously we needed Indy to win.  Instead, however, Indy forgot to show up.  Pretty pathetic of them.

Add this to the Patriots’ previous game, when Denver laid down for them as well.

How can the Colts AND Broncos, seemingly playoff-caliber teams, just allow themselves to get blown out by the Patriots when we need them most?   These teams, who we expected at least SOME help from, allowed a combined 85 points to the Pats.  That’s EIGHTY-FIVE points!

Thanks a lot, Indianapolis.   Thank you very much, Denver.

The problem with Indy—and this was exposed last night—is that they are not a very good team.  They are in first place in their division, but it’s the weakest division in NFL history.  Imagine if you got to play Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Houston TWICE a year EACH!!   Indy is only 6-4 and has the same record as the Dolphins, but they are a game AHEAD in their weak division, while Miami is two games behind.  The Colts are an average team, and it certainly was exposed Sunday night.

Bengals at Saints.
Almost every time the NFC plays the AFC, we need to root for the NFC team to help the Dolphins’ playoff chances.  The Bengals are one of the teams that Miami is chasing, so it was great to see them traveling to the tough Superdome to face the Saints.  Unfortunately, the Saints continue to be overrated, and they got killed.  Barely put up a fight against the Bengals.  Thanks a lot, New Orleans.

Broncos at Rams.
This was a shocker and proved to be helpful.  If nothing else, it exposed the Broncos.  It reiterated the game plan that will beat them:   get after Peyton Manning.  He will make mistakes.  He will take sacks.  He will blow plays.  The Broncos have lost 2 of 3 (and that only win in between was vs. the lowly Raiders).  They are mortal.  You can beat them by pounding their offensive line.  Put doubt in their heads early on, and they will not recover.   Just ask the Seahawks.  Just ask the Rams.   The Denver loss means that Kansas City has a great chance to win the West.  That means Denver may end up as only a wild card team.  If Miami can beat Denver, then they are both 7-4 and both wild card contenders.  But the Dolphins will own the tiebreaker over Denver if we beat them head to head.  It’s a huge game.  It’s a huge game for which the Rams just handed us a playbook.  They taught us how to beat Denver.

Seahawks at Chiefs.
Like the Saints and Colts, we expected the Seahawks to give us a little love and knock KC down a  notch in the playoffs race.  But no.  Seattle decided to take a week off without telling us.

Texans at Browns.
Lowly Houston helped expose that Cleveland is overachieving and not really a good football team.  The Bengals took over the division, and the Browns now realize their only hope of the playoffs is via the wild card.  However, even with a tremendously easy schedule coming up (Atlanta, Buffalo, and Carolina on the horizon ), the Browns are not for real and will fade away.  If you can’t beat Houston (Ryan Fitzpatrrick and Ryan Mallett are two of the worst starters in NFL history) at home, your season is done.  The good news is that Cincy is now the division leader, so Miami no longer has to chase them for a wild card spot.

Eagles at Packers.
The Packers seem to score 45 or 50 points every week.  Their offense is THAT good.   Except when they played Miami, we held them to only 27…which should have been 20 if not for Joe Philbin. Our defense is THAT good.   We held them to 30 points fewer than every other team.

Lions at Cardinals.
The Detroit defense got destroyed by a third-string QB.   The Detroit offense went without a touchtown.  The Cardinals obviously had a better game plan to defeat the Lions than we did.  It’s something to consider.  The Lions aren’t as good as they think.   Suddenly they are tied with the Packers and no longer have a huge lead in their division.  They are a wild card team, at best, and we should have beaten them.

Monday Night Football
Steelers at Titans.
How on earth do the Titans get to host a MNF game?  I mean, they were 7-9 last year and nobody outside of Memphis cares about them.  I’ll keep an eye on this game because we need Pittsburgh to keep losing, but otherwise this is will be a pathetically boring game.  Jake Locker?   Zzzzzzzz.

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  1. The teams you mentioned, to borrow a phrase from Herm Edwards, play to win the game. Not to help the Dolphins out. Ryan Mallet has not played enough football as an NFL starter to be labeled as on of the worst qbs ever. Seattle didn’t take a week off as much as they got outplayed by a very good, very well-coached team in the Chiefs. Albeit at one of the most difficult places in the league for a road team to play, Arrowhead stadium. And the Lions may be a bad road team but they are the #1 defense in the league this year and teams such as are usually very hard to beat at home. Just refer to their home record as proof.

  2. This seems to be a reoccurring theme with the Dolphins…always depending on another team to lose to move up in the standings. I have witnessed this over and over again over the years. Since when do we not take the reins ourselves and get there on our own merit ? If we can’t get it done when it counts we surely do not deserve to be there, however I do believe this squad will be in the hunt if not on top of the division by the end of the season. We don’t need any help to achieve this, we just need to continue to finish games and the rest will take care of itself.

  3. Im terribly proud of this team and the tremendous growth of its still young winning culture. The commendable manner in which they have responded now twice to last minute defeats can not be overly praised. While those losses were disappointing they were also no more challenging to overcome than the favored teams they faced the following week. From draft to talent we have everything needed to compete and win. The only element left is a culture and team identity which I am seeing encouraging signs of throughout the season. Once that element gels, the resiliency, confidence, and ability to bounce back in game will become even more apparent and will take us over the hump in closely contested games. This slow developmental approach flies in the face of today’s attitude of purchasing talent for immediate impact instead of building it brick by brick through good coaching and encouragement. But the time taken by this methodical approach is now staring to pay dividends and also is allowing our depth to develop making the Phins resistant to injuries which can derail other teams chances. Honestly Im not too worried about Sunday in Denver. There is little pressure, we’re not expected to win so if we dont , there wont be any uproar. The pressure is on the Broncos after loosing in embarrassing fashion to the Rams and also to not disappoint their home fans. I say lets do exactly what we did when facing Buffalo. Just go out there and play and keep the emotional side of things in check. And play the same way , with the same attitude as any other game. Trying to be cutesy or trying too hard to match the supposed talent level of Denver will be playing mentally right into their hands. But I think at this point our guys are too smart for that.

  4. If Denver is missing Both Sanders and Juluis Thomas or either just one we have better than a puncher’s chance because they typically can’t run the ball. Plus I have doubts about Denver’s offensive and defensive lines as far as depth and quality. And this is actually one of the games on the schedule that I feel we have a slight coaching advantage in possibly. If we can get to Manning early and rattle him I like our chances. Either way I know our defense will give all they can despite the outcome. If our defense gets carved up so what? Manning is a Hall of Famer and that’s just what he does. To have a chance we need to keep the score in the 23-27 range to have a shot. If Denver gets to there home average of 29ppg will be in trouble because from an offensive standpoint we typically don’t score in that range. This game will be the measuring stick on where we are as a team and tell if we are truly a team that belongs in the play-offs. It’s late in the season where we need to win to decide our fate and on the road in a hostile environment against the favorite team in the AFC. This game should either expose and highlight all our weaknesses or either show the growth and leadership our players have developed. Hopefully if it’s another close game late the ball can bounce our way this time and we can make the plays necessary to close it out.

  5. Im happy as long as the game is competitive. Our secondary and linebackers will be in the spotlight and challenged often. Our offense will need to play with conviction and physical if it wants to establish itself early. You really cant allow Manning to hang around if you get the lead and if we are playing from behind, our Defense will have to bail us out . Hopefully if the latter happens our offense wont squander opportunities given by our D. Jamar Taylor will be targeted often as well as wheeler in space. Tannehill will need to weather the storm early and bounce back like in games past. As far as the temperature, I dont buy that at all. Being a florida native and having played sports in the cold I think its an advantage for us. The only difference is cold here in FL is combined with humidity making the air more dense and actually for myself improving my performance. Its the altitude and thinner air in Denver that most worries me. Our team could get worn out quicker than Denver in the latter parts of the game. It takes more and deeper breaths to maintain the bodies oxygen levels if your not acclimated. I guess we will just have to see how things go.

    1. Author

      Good points about the weather. I am not overly concerned with the weather and altitude either. I mean, these are pro athletes in great shape. Even the fattest, slowest linemen in the NFL are better conditioned that any of us office workers. It’s not like the air in Denver is littered with noxious gases. It’s just thinner, and our player will adjust.

  6. Correction: Nobody outside of Nashville cares about them. Just proving your point, lol!

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