We called our site Dolphins Truth for a reason, and not Dolphins Optimism or Dolphins Positives. We are dedicated to bringing thoughtful, truthful analysis to our readers each week, even if the truth is hard to take.
That being said, there are definitely some positive signs as the Dolphins head to Detroit this week, but also some troubling signs that we need to overcome.
First of all is the three-game winning streak. It feels great. It feels like we can beat anyone. It feels familiar. Wait, familiar?
Familiar? Yes. Last year, the Dolphins began the season with a 3-game winning streak. Then before we knew it, we were suddenly 3-4. The Dolphins could not sustain momentum. Later in the season, the Dolphins won 3 games in a row again and were in prime position for the playoffs. But then they lost the next 2 games to two of the worst teams in the NFL.
The year before, in Joe Philbin’s first season, the Dolphins won three in a row, and then countered that by losing their next three.
The point is this: Joe Philbin has never gotten this team over the hump. Three-game streaks are nice, but they are not uncommon for the Dolphins. Nothing special. Yet. Let’s hope we can turn this into a 4, 5 or 6 game streak or more. THEN we’ll know we’re onto something. But for now, it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before.
Another thing that troubles me about this game is Mr. Reginald Bush. Letting Reggie walk away is still among the worst moves the Dolphins ever made, and I hope it doesn’t come back to bite us Sunday. As long as we win, Reggie can rush for 400 yards for all I care. But when he gets hot, he scores. And that is scary.
No current Dolphin runner is as electrifying as Reggie Bush is. Who remembers this run above? I will never forget it. Since Reggie left, no Dolphin has the big-play rushing ability that Reggie does.
The Lions are formidable, and that is daunting too as we head into their stadium. They defeated the Packers, and we couldn’t. They defeated the Saints, and that is hard to do. These Lions are for real.
So with all that…the Dolphins still have cause for optimism. And here’s why. I already told you about some good teams that Detroit beat. But they also got a few easy games on the schedule, which helped them greatly. They beat the Vikings and Jets, which are pretty much free victories given to them by the schedule-maker. The Lions LOST to Carolina, which is turning out to be a pretty dreadful team. And Detroit LOST to Buffalo, among the NFL’s worst teams. (Sorry, but Buffalo simply is not for real; they are led by journeyman Kyle Orton and have zero offense…zero. Any team who loses to them ought to be ashamed of themselves, including Miami and Detroit). Detroit barely squeaked by a terrible Falcon team.
It just shows that Detroit is very beatable. So that is great cause for hope for Dolphans.
Joe Philbin is among the league’s most bland and predictable coaches. But this week, he goes up against a coach who is even more bland and more predictable and more stoic, Jim Caldwell. Caldwell inherited Tony Dungy’s championship Colts and drove them into the ground with no success. If you can’t win with Peyton Manning, then you can’t win period. There are few coaches in the league with less game-sense than Joe Philbin, but luckily for us, Caldwell is one of them.
While the Detroit offense SHOULD scare me more, it really doesn’t. Weaker defenses than ours have been able to stop them, so we should also. Calvin Johnson is great, but he’s streaky. And the Dolphins have been able to stop other receivers this year, so I don’t see too much cause for concern here. Kevin Coyle knows how to stop superstars…our problems usually come from the opponents’ grinders (such as those 3rd and 4th string RBs on Kansas City who ate us up all day).
The Detroit defense can be strong, and they will be well rested after their bye week. But our offense is clicking, and Bill Lazor is making good adjustments as of late. I predict the Dolphins might start slow as they analyze what Detroit’s defense is up to. But by the third series, we’ll start to shine.
PREDICTION: Dolphins 24 Detroit 17
It will be Philbin’s first 4-game winning streak.