The Philadelphia Eagles (4-8) travel to Sun Life Stadium to face the surging Miami Dolphins (4-8) who are looking for there fourth straight victory at home. The Dolphins haven’t won four straight at home in the same season since 2002! Sunday’s contest marks the 13th meeting between the two teams. Miami holds the advantage in the all-time series 7-5, but has lost the last two meetings to the Eagles. The Dolphins hold a 2-1 advantage in games played in South Florida. Here are some of the keys to watch for on Sunday between two teams that seem to be heading in different directions.
1) Contain Michael Vick And Turn It Over – Anytime your facing an athlete that has the ability and characteristics of quarterback Michael Vick, discipline on defense is paramount! Forcing Vick into poor decisions will be front and center on the minds of players like linebackers Cam Wake and Jason Taylor! Staying in your rushing lanes when you attack the pocket and staying in coverage will be phrases you will hear throughout the week from guys like linebacker Karlos Dansby, safety Yeremiah Bell and defensive end Jared Odrick. Getting hits on Vick is not an easy task, but affecting his timing in the pocket, and disguising coverages to a quarterback that’s been out of the starting line-up for three weeks can be accomplished! The Eagles have the dubious distinction of being tied for last in the league in turnover ratio at minus 13, and the Dolphins have created seven turnovers in the last four games! This is the week to keep that vibe going and to win the turnover battle!
2) Keep The Eagles Guessing On Defense – The Miami Dolphins offense has been effective using the talents of everyone over the last four or five football games. We’ve seen different players emerge as the “go to” players from week to week, and I believe that’s going to continue against Philadelphia. Quarterback Matt Moore has spread the football around enough that teams must cover the entire field now when facing this offense. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall still leads the team in receptions (63) and yardage (910), but it’s the pressure that Davone Bess and tight ends Anthony Fasano and Charles Clay that can stretch a defense! Bess has been showing up on the stat sheet as of late, moving the chains and getting into the end zone. The combination of Fasano and Clay (36 receptions for 557 and five touchdowns when you combine the two) is a match-up nightmare for opposing linebackers and safeties all over the field, especially in the red-zone! Add in a Brian Hartline circus catch or two on the sidelines and the ability to throw it vertically and sideline-to-sideline is accomplished. Good Luck Philly!
3) Who Will Win The Chunk Plays – Both teams have players that can simply take over any football game. The Eagles have dual threat running back LeSean McCoy, who leads the NFC in rushing with 1,134 yards, and touchdowns with 15! He can break a game wide open and keep the Eagles on the field on third downs either by running it or catching the football. The Dolphins counter with running back Reggie Bush, who rushed for 100 yards on 22 carries last week against the Oakland Raiders! Bush is healthy and it’s starting to show, rushing for 667 yards on the season. That total through twelve games is the most rushing yards Bush has run for as a pro in a single season! The Eagles boast one of the most explosive duos at wide receiver in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. They are the currently the only two teammates to each have 170 plus yard receiving games in 2011, and can get those yards in big plays. Jackson has 49 catches of 25 yards or more since 2008, and Maclin’s four touchdowns leads the team. If Miami can continue to get big play out of their offense (eight plays of over 15 yards and six plays over 25 yards verses Oakland last week) they will be in great shape. Also, the Dolphins are just eleven plus 25 plays away from the franchise record for most in a season.
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.