The Dolphins will play their final game of the 2010 season on this second day of 2011 as they head north to face the division champion Patriots.
The 7-8 Dolphins are looking to finish their season with a .500 record and with a win would also finish with a 7-1 road record. On the other side, the 13-2 Pats are looking to make Bill Belichick the first coach in NFL history with four-14 win regular seasons.
Keep reading to see what our crew thinks about this one. Keith Sims talks Dolphins offense, Sam Madison tells you what the Dolphins’ defensive objectives should be, and John Congemi tells you what’s important for the Fins…
There are many things that we all want to see from this Dolphins offense. The stats rate this Patriots’ defense as nothing but middle of the road, with it’s highest rankings being points and rush (13th and 16th). For the Dolphins, this game should be less about the Pats and whatever they want to accomplish and all about what this Dolphins offense needs to get done.
There are three main areas where I’m looking for the Dolphins to excel:
1. Richie Incognito as center vs. Pro Bowler NT Vince Wilfolk. If Richie can not only hold his own, but win his share of these battles in the trenches, he should earn the starting center spot for 2011 and a nice new contract.
2. Ronnie & Ricky vs. Pats run defense. The Dolphins need to know which back they can build with. Both Ronnie and Ricky are very good RB’s, but it’s not likely that both will be back. One or both need to have strong games. Run hard, break tackles and make it seem like the 2009 Dolphins rushing attack is back.
3. Chad Henne vs himself. He is our starting QB. He has shown flashes of being a very good QB in this league. But there is no more time. He needs to tack control of this team and prove that he can put this team on his back and win a game. Prove he has control and that the game its not too big for him. I want to se Chad quiet all his critics and grab hold of the QB spot heading into the offseason.
Lastly, after 15 games, it’s time for this offense to not only carry it’s on weight, but win a game for this team. Let’s see the offensive fireworks that we expected to see all season….Let’s start 2011 with a bang!!
This is the last time we will see this Miami Dolphins football team. Every season brings you something totally different. If anything, you are only as good as your last down. And after the last few showings as a team, the Fins are out to prove something. This week the Fins have a great chance to show what type of team they really are.
It’s a divisional game, an AFC East rival, and it’s on the road. Mike Nolan will have his hands full trying to stop the #1 team in the NFL in scoring but it has been done. In their two losses this year, they have had an output of only 14 pts against the Jets and 14 pts to the Cleveland Browns. Keys to that same success will be to win on 3rd and 4th down efficiency. Limit the touches Tom Brady can put his hands on the ball. Create turnovers and that means getting off the field on 3rd and 4th downs. This is the #3 ranked defense in the league. I want to see the defense stop the running game and end Brady’s streak of 319 consecutive passes without an INT fall in the last game of the season.
I want to start by saying that I realize that a victory against New England gets the Dolphins to 8-8 for the season, and that’s not good enough to get into the playoffs. I also know that this season started with a lot of promise, and I certainly don’t want to see this team lose to the Patriots to end the season! I believe there are multiple reasons for the way things transpired this year, but one thing that I can say about this group is they will come out and compete.
Getting to interact with most of the players on this team on a daily basis, I have a pretty good guage on the attitude and pulse of this team. They are disappointed about the back to back losses, and the way they have performed at home, but I believe they will be ready for the challenge to close out the schedule. This team is filled with prideful players that want to be successful, and led by a coaching staff that won’t let them just go through the motions. They know the importance being prepared to play each and every Sunday, and I feel that this game won’t be any different. Many people will say 7-9 is not that much different than 8-8. I’m from the belief that every time you step out on the field and they’re keeping score, it matters! A win Sunday won’t change anything this season, but it certainly will feel better than the alternative.
Tune in to all of our gameday coverage beginning at 11am on Sunday. You can watch online at Dolphins.com or listen locally on 940-WINZ or BIG 105.9 FM. Enjoy the game and Happy New Year!
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.