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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins vs. Lions – Week Seven Preview

Travis Wingfield

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Who: Dolphins (4-2) vs. Lions (2-3)
When: October 21, 1:00 East
Where: Hard Brock Stadium – Miami Gardens, FL
Weather: 87 degrees, 72% humidity, 99 degrees real feel
Vegas Slant: Lions -2.5

Dolphins-Lions

Only six weeks into the new season and Dolphins fans find themselves in familiar, unwelcomed territory. Though plenty is different regarding the 2018 and 2017 teams, two primary factors head the marquee:

The Dolphins are 4-2 and turn to a backup quarterback for an undetermined period of time.

Something of a silver lining, at least this time around Miami has a signal-caller that puts off the appearance that the results matter. Evidence by everything from his sideline demeanor to his instantly classic role on the show Very Cavallari, Jay Cutler confirmed that he truly does not care.

That isn’t the case for Brock Osweiler (or Brock Lobster, Brocktober, Hard Brock Stadium – whatever it is we’re calling him). His press availability on Wednesday, immediately after being named Sunday’s starter was, dare I say…captivating?

Osweiler spent three years with Adam Gase in Denver, but only started seven games once Gase was gone to Chicago. The rest of that time was spent prepping Peyton Manning within this very scheme. There’s a quantifiable level of mental aptitude there, and it was on display in the game Sunday.

The fairy tale ending is the ultimate hope for all Dol-fans, but Osweiler’s physical limitations are the primary obstacle standing in the way for the perfect Hollywood script.

The Dolphins are 4-2 and have a chance to get to 5-2 for the first time since 2003. If that happens, Osweiler then gets a crack at his former team on a short week. Fans are either in for a really exhilarating five-day stretch, or back to the same old Dolphins.

It starts Sunday against Detroit.

The Lions’ Scheme:
Offense

Owner of the best name in sports, Detroit Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has drawn the ire of a significant portion of the Lions fan-base.

Cooter’s scheme is a variation of the West Coast offense with a gap-blocking scheme in the running game. This approach suits the Lions’ personnel, but the predictability of his play-calling is the primary reason fans want him out (then again, 30 fan bases around the league probably hate their play-caller).

Rub routes, angle routes and plenty of quick-game to involve the talented skill-set is the idea behind Detroit’s offense. Once Detroit has achieved a manageable down-and-distance, the deep shots being to flood in.

The Lions are a dead-even 50-50 split in terms of play choice on first down. From that, Cooter will operate with built-in shot plays off play-action and work off of the many screen looks his offense features.

Defense:

A copy and paste of the Patriots scheme would be a passable blurb for this passage. Matt Patricia brings his variation of Bill Belichick’s defense to the Motor City, but the Lions haven’t yet taken to the scheme.

Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Mixing up the fronts and operating out of sub-packages regardless off down-and-distance, Patricia will show the Miami offense as much as it can handle. The key for Miami will be countering that variety with multiplicity of its own.

With the Dolphins 12-personnel package, and the sudden emergence of Nick O’Leary, the Dolphins hurry-up could catch the Lions dime package on the field against a run-heavy set operated by Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore.

Peeling defensive linemen into coverage, stunts, twists, blitzing defensive backs, there’s no reason to think Patricia won’t send the kitchen sink at Osweiler.

The Players:
Offense

Matt Stafford is one the league’s best quarterbacks. His big arm, ability to adjust his platform and arm-angle, and passing lane manipulation make him a tough match-up. He is as aggressive as they come and has some boom-or-bust to him as a result.

The running game is vital for Detroit. Rookie Kerryon Johnson snapped a drought that spanned five years (70 games) without a 100-yard rusher. Johnson is the primary back, Theo Riddick is one of the best receivers from the backfield in the NFL and LeGarrette Blount is the hammer.

Johnson is far-and-away the most dangerous of the three and Miami needs to bring a lunch pail mentality to get him to the ground. None of the Detroit backs are in the top 50 in yards after contact average.

The pass catchers are the most dangerous group of this team. Golden Tate will challenge the tackling ability of the Miami secondary, Kenny Golladay is among the premier deep-threats in the business and Marvin Jones is a nuanced route runner.

Tate is 14th in the NFL in yards per route run and Golladay is 20th.

The tight end position hasn’t provided a lot of bite in either the passing game or the ground game, but the Detroit offensive line has played well. Right Tackle Rick Wagner has been excellent in both facets of the game (though he has allowed three sacks) and Taylor Decker has been a mauler in the ground game, but struggled with speed rushers.

Rookie Center-Turned-Guard Frank Ragnow is off to a difficult start. Ragnow has allowed a team-high 15 pressures, but has demonstrated some of the brute force in the running game that made him a first round pick.

It might behoove Miami to dial-up similar A-gap pressure it showed in the Cincinnati game. The interior line of the Lions has shown some cohesion issues and Stafford is the 23rd ranked passer when under pressure.

Defense:

Aside from a few recognizable names, the Detroit defense is a who’s who of unproven players. Safeties Glover Quinn and Quandre Diggs (two stalwarts on the Lion D) have had slow starts to the season. Quinn has been victimized in coverage allowing all eight passes in his coverage area to go complete for 112 yards.

Darius Slay is best ignored by the Miami passing game. He’s a shutdown corner that will take the football away if you try him. Adam Gase will likely throw a lot of clear-out routes at the pro-bowl corner.

Jamal Agnew is out for the year and Teez Tabor left the Green Bay game with an injury; his status remains unclear for Sunday. Nevin Lawson mans the slot position primarily but the third cornerback role remains a concern for this Detroit defense.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Patricia’s defense is a sound tackling unit, and they’ll need to be in order to prevent Albert Wilson and company from going off. This, however, doesn’t extend into the linebacker group. Sophomore Jarrad Davis is struggling with six missed tackles on the season.

Davis and Christian Jones are the only ‘backers that have played significant reps – both have had their problems with the run and the pass.

Detroit’s pass rush has been largely non-existent in the early going this year. Ezekiel Ansah hasn’t been active since week one and his status remains unknown for Sunday. Devon Kennard leads the defense in snaps and he gets to the quarterback on 13% of his pass rush snaps.

Beyond Kennard, there isn’t a whole lot to write home about for the sack-artists on this team.

On the interior Da’Shawn Hand is having a great season but, like the other units, depth is lacking. A’Shawn Robinson is a stout run defender but has conditioning issues and offers nothing as a rusher.

On the tape and via Pro Football Focus, this unit has plenty of areas Miami could attack. The protection in the Chicago game was the best it has been for the Dolphins in years – and that might not change Sunday.

The Medical:

The Concerns:

South Florida is an unforgiving football environment. The Miami defense played a lot of snaps on Sunday in an emotional win. Conditioning could prove problematic even with the reinforcements arriving from the injury list.

As is the case every single week, running backs catching passes is a major concern. Theo Riddick on the angle route is a terrifying thought for Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso. Miami will need to blitz Stafford in an effort to disrupt his timing and keep the back in to help with pass-pro.

The Opportunities:

Miami’s running game got healthy against Chicago and that trend ought to continue. The Lions are thin up front and Miami can use the weather, and its own deception, to keep those big boys on the move.

Leading the NFL in interceptions, Miami has been terrific at baiting quarterbacks into questionable decisions. Stafford is prone for the turnover-laden game once in a while and the Dolphins need to do all they can to help their backup quarterback.

The Keys:

1.) The ground game – This is Miami’s best chance all year to have a huge day on the ground. The Lions defense has struggled against the run and is short on bodies up front. That does not bode well for the road team in the Miami hotbox.

2.) Tackling – Detroit has a slew of guys that can burn defenses with the football. Chicago got the best of Miami with Tarik Cohen last week – time to get back to the fundamentals.

3.) Winning one-on-ones on offense – This is always the case but Miami needs another stellar pass protection effort (which seems likely against this Lions’ defense). Additionally, Miami needs its receivers to get off the line-of-scrimmage and present available targets for Osweiler early in the route.

4.) Health on defense – Miami has been thin for a few weeks now. With Bobby McCain and Cameron Wake likely back, the rotation can be implemented once more while simultaneously getting two of the team’s best players back on the field.

The Projected Result:

Who’s ready for Brocktober? The nicknames and the fun can continue with the benefit of a home game for the Dolphins. The Lions are off a bye, but so were the Bears last week. Teams coming off a bye week in 2018 are 1-3.

A couple of factors go against Miami here:

1.) Emotional, hard-fought victories tend to lead towards let-downs.
2.) Backup quarterbacks fare far worse in their second start.

But the match-up favors Miami in a lot of ways. This one has the potential to light up the scoreboard again, but as we’ve seen with this team over the last few years, beating the Dolphins in the fourth quarter is difficult.

With a lack of depth, or even starting-caliber players on defense, Miami’s offense can build off last week’s success.

The game follows an up-and-down pattern into the fourth quarter where Adam Gase’s Dolphins do what they do best – win football games late. Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore prove to be too much as the Dolphins get to 5-2 for the first time since 2003.

Dolphins 26
Lions 20

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins vs Vikings Reaction

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Stefanski coached his first game as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator and he may have orchestrated the last game of Matt Burke‘s tenure as the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator.

Maybe the miracle wiped the emotion out of everyone.

I’d say an illegal touching penalty on Brice Butler on the team’s 2nd possession was an omen that this game wasn’t going to go well. It may have been Matt Haack‘s punt from the Viking’s 45 yard line that ended up bouncing into the end zone that made for a perfect metaphor. Nope, it was most-definitely the 4th-down stop the Minnesota Vikings made when Ja’Wuan James virtually tackles Ryan Tannehill for a comical sack that summarizes this team’s performance today – and quite possibly, their 2018 season as a whole.

After sucking us back into the season in dramatic fashion last week against the New England Patriots, the Dolphins reminded us why they’re far from a playoff team with a lackluster performance on the road against the Minnesota Vikings.

We knew going into Minnesota would be tough, but we didn’t expect it to be embarrassing; though maybe we should have. The Dolphins are now 1-6 in road games this season – a consistent stain on Adam Gase‘s resume.

The good news? This was the only game Miami could afford to lose the rest of the season and still have a realistic chance at the playoffs. The bad news? Everyone else in the playoff picture (Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens) won.

Miami is going to need a lot of help if they want to make the playoffs, but it starts with consecutive victories against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.

Below are a few things we noticed from Miami’s 41 – 17 loss to the Vikings:

1) Drain the Defense

This actually might start with the front office. Look at how Miami spent its cap space this season:

(team rank / player / cap hit)
1) Robert Quinn – $11.44m
2) Andre Branch – $10m
4) Kiko Alonso – $9.66m
5) Cameron Wake – $9.62m
9) Reshad Jones – $4.96m

The Dolphins gave up a 4th-round draft pick for their costliest player. They prematurely extended their second-most expensive player after he recorded 5.5 sacks and the team was desperate for defensive ends (they selected Charles Harris in the first round that following draft). Miami did the same with Kiko Alonso that same offseason (though it’s hard to complain about him after watching the rest of this defense). And the bottom two players on the above list are legends on a franchise that doesn’t make the playoffs.

This team was hit with a bunch of injuries, but we need to stop leaning on that excuse. There are no longer excuses as for why the Minnesota Vikings accumulated 101 rushing yards…in the first quarter. The team’s depth has been terribly exposed, and Matt Burke has not been able to adjust to the team’s most-glaring weakness.

Dalvin Cook came into this game averaging 45.9 yards per game and Latavius Murray came into this game averaging 36.2 yards per game. Cook finished with 136 yards and 2 touchdowns while Murray rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Although Robert Quinn added another (shoestring) sack to his total, he was noticeably getting wiped out of the play on the first two rushing touchdowns by the Vikings. Bobby McCain may have been watching too many replays of Rob Gronkowski last week during the Miami Miracle, because his angle on Cook’s first touchdown run was atrocious.

McCain wasn’t to be outdone, however, as Latavius Murray’s touchdown run in the first quarter came with a nice little stiff arm to Bobby McCain’s helmet – leading to a physical lapse by the cornerback compared to the mental lapse on the previous touchdown run.

We can excuse the few shortcomings Minkah Fitzpatrick has each week. Not only is he a rookie, but he’s being tasked with understanding every position in the secondary. McCain was at his natural inside corner position on those touchdown runs and was a detriment rather than the luxury that earned a contract extension this past offseason. In fairness to McCain, he did have a better second half, but after the Vikings had scored 21 points in the first quarter, it’s hard to compliment a player that put the team in such a tight bind.

Each time Fitzpatrick allows a reception I look at the play negatively. And yet, these are receptions that are going for maybe 8-13 yards at a time, not the 40-yard bombs that blow up an entire game plan.

The Derwin James vs Minkah Fitzpatrick debate is going to follow them their entire careers, but the biggest reason people have for selecting James over Fitzpatrick (as the better draft pick) is because the Los Angeles Chargers safety ‘makes big plays’. Fitzpatrick showed he can be equally as impressive when he read a Kirk Cousin‘s screen pass beautifully and took it to the house for a touchdown.

Maybe Minnesota understood how to expose Miami’s defense better than Bill Belichick, but it was evident the Dolphins missed Xavien Howard. Kirk Cousins completed just 2/3 of his passes, and only threw for 215 yards, but he didn’t really need much help from Adam Thielen or Stephon Diggs (even though they had plenty of open space to work with). Cousins completed 2 passes apiece to Tyler Conklin and Aldrick Robinson, but those 4 completions averaged 24.25 yards per play.

Outside of Fitzpatrick’s pick-6, this defense didn’t have too many bright spots. T.J. McDonald was exposed in coverage and Torry McTyer was beat on a long touchdown to Robinson. This defense has valuable core pieces, but it also needs an overhaul.

And it’s going to start with the defensive coordinator.

2) A Fireable Offense

Which stat would you like to pull out of this game that exemplifies Miami’s mediocrity?

  • 37 total passing yards (that’s not a misprint)
  • 11 passes completed
  • 193 total yards on offense
  • 2/12 3rd-down efficiency
  • 9 sacks allowed

That’s 2 more completed passes than sacks for those counting at home.

This doesn’t take into account two pass plays that Ryan Tannehill forced and Miami’s wide receivers needed to bat down. This doesn’t point out the fact that they gained some of these yards in garbage time.

One week after everyone was ready to anoint Tannehill the 2019 opening day starter, fans are back to clamoring for the top quarterback prospect in the draft – whoever it may be. They just need fresh blood.

Erase the 75-yard touchdown run Kalen Ballage had and this offense mustered 118 yards the entire game. That would have been 29.5 yards per quarter! A lot of the problems have to do with the offensive line, but we also have to recognize that a lot of offensive issues today stemmed from the Dolphins receivers.

The normally sure-handed Danny Amendola dropped two passes and also juggled a punt return late in the game. DeVante Parker was nonexistent (1 target). Kenny Stills caught one reception in garbage time. Brice Butler’s biggest play was negated because he stepped out of bounds and received an illegal touching penalty. Mike Gesicki caught a couple of passes, but makes no impact whatsoever on offense.

The team’s shiftiest running back (Kenyan Drake) is nursing an injury and was sparingly used while the team’s most reliable running back (Frank Gore) left the game in the first quarter with a foot sprain. A lot can be said for the poor quarterback performance today, but we also need to point out the collective failure of an offensive unit.

Similar to the defense, the issue might start with the front office. This is how the rest of the top-10 most expensive players rounds out for Miami:

(team rank / player / cap hit)
3) Kenny Stills – $9.75m
6) Ja’Wuan James – $9.34m
7) Ryan Tannehill – $8.68m
8) Danny Amendola – $6m
10) DeVante Parker – $3.46m

That’s a lot of average to non-existent production from Miami’s top-10 cap hits this season.

While quarterback will be the most-discussed topic this offseason, look for the Dolphins to overhaul their tight ends (once again) and their wide receivers, as it’s possible none of Miami’s receivers in 2019 were active for this game. There’s a good chance the only returning wide receivers from this year’s roster are Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant, both of whom have serious injuries that they might not be able to come back from.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Gore. Miami desperately needs to win these next two games, and if Gore is unable to perform near 100%, he may be the latest casualty to land on injured-reserve.

With Brandon Bolden and Kalen Ballage having good games for Miami, it’s possible they run with their current trio (with Senorise Perry as insurance) rather than risk an unhealthy Frank Gore.

If this happens to be the case, and Gore does indeed land on IR, it’ll be a disappointing way to see the running back’s season end. Gore had accumulated 722 rushing yards on the season (including this game against Minnesota) and was Miami’s most-durable and reliable option at running back all year. Though it may be hard to find space for him, signing Frank Gore near the veteran’s minimum would be a priority of mine next offseason.

The Dolphins look to play with our hearts again next week as they host the disappointing Jaguars in Miami.

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Miami Dolphins

Charting Ryan Tannehill 2018 – Week 13 vs Buffalo

Travis Wingfield

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Go to Week 1 vs. Tennessee
Go to Week 2 at NY Jets
Go to Week 3 vs. Oakland
Go to week 4 at New England
Go to week 5 at Cincinnati
Go to week 12 at Indianapolis

Week 13 vs. Buffalo –

In his second game back from a shoulder injury that was rumored to end his season, Ryan Tannehill stayed in familiar territory. A few big-time throws, a few more mistakes, and yet another divisive performance.

The fastball deteriorated as the game grew older, he struggled with some touch passes, and missed a few reads, but two touchdowns where he displayed cajones grande was enough to push the Dolphins back into the winner’s circle.

Without Danny Amendola, the personnel packages didn’t fluctuate from the week prior in Indianapolis. Adam Gase deployed primarily 11-personnel and a lot of shotgun. Tannehill was in the gun on 22 of his 28 drop backs.

 

11-personnel 24 snaps
12-personnel 2 snaps
13-personnel 1 snap
21-personnel 1 snap

 

Moving the chains was a struggle regardless of the down-and-distance. Miami moved the sticks on 10 of the 28 plays called for Tannehill, and he was just 2/8 on third downs.

Yards-after-the-catch were missing from the Miami offense. Only 25.5% of Tannehill’s mere 137-passing yards came after the reception. Despite the lingering shoulder issue, Tannehill still averaged 9.38 air-yards-per-throw.

 

Portion of the Field Accurate Pass/Number of Passes
20+ yards 0/4 (0%)
11-19 yards 3/3 (100%)
0-10 yards (or behind LOS) 13/17 (77%)

 

Tannehill was sharp in the red zone completing 5/6 passes – three for touchdowns and two moving the chains on third down.

Two of the touchdowns were threaded into tight windows – Tannehill was on-point in that area as well. He completed 5/10 passes for 63 yards with the two touchdowns and one interception.

It wasn’t a clean game for Tanenhill – far from it. He was charged with four off-target throws, four missed reads and two critical errors (an INT and a missed TD opportunity).

Pressure, as it has been most of his career, was arriving with regularity. On Tannehill’s 28 drop backs, the rush got home 13 times (4 sacks, 8 hits, 1 hurry) at an average of 2.18 seconds from snap-to-pressure.

Play-action, once again, was Tannehill’s bread and butter. He did throw the interception on a double-move-deep-shot to Kenny Stills, but he completed the other four for 41 yards.

The critical errors, missed reads and overall lack of production shrouds this showing with a dark cloud. The two big-time red zone strikes, however, and the clean operation of threading tight windows is enough to push this effort into the upper-echelon of a “winning performance.”

Result: Winning Performance

 

2018 Performance Results Number of Games
Winning Performance 4 (TEN, OAK, IND, BUF)
Inconsequential Performance 1 (@NYJ)
Losing Performance 2 (@NE, @CIN)

 

@WingfieldNFL

Additional videos:

Tannehill appears to be apprehensive on the whee route to the back

Tannehill continues to struggle with the wheel route

Body position opens the read Tannehill wants.

Has a shot at a deep ball, but take the sure first down.

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Miami Dolphins

Week 15: Rooting Guide and Staff Predictions

Gabe Hauari

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Week 14 proved to be one of the most memorable in Dolphins history, as the “Miami Miracle” propelled the Dolphins to a dramatic victory over New England.

As memorable as it was, the only other favorable result around the league was the Ravens losing to Kansas City, as the Colts and Titans also kept themselves in playoff contention by notching wins.

Week 15 is a critical week for much of the NFL, as many teams are still alive in their respective playoff races. In the AFC specifically, there are five teams vying for the final two playoff spots. Who should you root for in these matchups? Here are the games to keep an eye on, with the team Miami should root for in bold for emphasis.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. EST

John Harbaugh announced Lamar Jackson will start over a healthy Joe Flacco on Sunday, which means this could be the official passing-of-the-torch moment for the Ravens (7-6). Tampa Bay is still mathematically in the NFC playoff race at 5-8, but facing a focused Ravens team at home is a tall order.

Dallas Cowboys at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. EST

The Cowboys are coming off an intense divisional win over the Eagles, and the Colts (7-6) are hot after a huge win over the Texans. The Dolphins would benefit greatly if the Cowboys came away from Lucas Oil Stadium with a victory, dropping the Colts to 7-7. The Cowboys could control their own destiny by winning the NFC East, something they are in prime position to do.

Tennessee Titans at New York Giants, 1 p.m. EST

This is a potential trap game for the Titans (7-6), as the Giants have improved steadily as the season has gone on. Even without Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants can win with a good running game and just enough defense. The Titans are coming off an impressive win over the Jaguars and will also likely try to establish their running game early.  This one could go either way, but let’s hope the Giants find a way to win this one.

 

Miami has a tough game this week, as playing in Minnesota is no walk in the park. The Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo this week after an ugly performance on Monday night vs. Seattle, which could benefit the Dolphins. How will the game turn out? Our staff takes a shot at predicting it:

Will Rogers:

After the Miami Miracle I, like many Dolphins fans, am still somewhat on a high. That high has me feeling that the Dolphins can do no wrong but I know I cannot be that naive.

When the Dolphins play the Vikings in Minnesota it’s going to be a true test for the Dolphins defense. It’s looking like Xavien Howard will not play so the guys next in line really need to step up to stop the powerful Vikings offensive weapons. 

This matchup could go either way but like I said I’m riding that high. I believe that the Dolphins can win this one and the taste of the playoffs will become sweeter. 

Prediction: Dolphins 28, Vikings 24

Skyler Trunck:

Since Tannehill has returned, this offensive is firing on almost all cylinders averaging the 8th most points per game in that span. However, this will be the best defense this offense has seen in that span. Add in the offense averaging nearly 8 points less on the road this season, it’s hard to feel great about this matchup.

Minnesota is currently ranked 5th in yards allowed and 11th in points allowed. When you watch this team and look at them on paper, the talent on this defense certainly illustrates these ranks are no fluke.

The reason Minnesota isn’t winning as much as last year is due to their offense, and more so their offensive inconsistencies. Like Miami, Minnesota fans know all too well what it’s like to have a sub-par (at best) offensive line and the effects it has on an offense.

In attempt to salvage their offense, Minnesota fired their supposedly up-and-coming offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo, this last week.

It’s easy to think Miami won’t score many points in this matchup given their success on the road and against a defense this stout. What is difficult to predict in this matchup is how this Miami defense will hold. Minnesota running back, Dalvin Cook, has been scripted out of most games, which is odd considering he’ll be one of the more talented backs Miami sees this year. If Minnesota’s new offensive coordinator features a heavy run attack, it may be hard for Miami to stay in this game.

I have hard time going against what I’ve seen all year from this Miami Dolphins team, especially with the absence of Xavien Howard for another week. 

Prediction: Vikings 20, Dolphins 17

Andrew Mitchell:

Coming off last weeks Miami Miracle game has spirits and confidence high. Which immediately worries me because we know how this can go sometimes. 

Ryan Tannehill has looked stellar in his return and the play-calling has been much improved as well. While the offense has seemed to find their groove, they still are not as dominant as needed to offset our shaky defense.

However, the defense has been playing the best it has all season and that trend MUST continue as they head to Minnesota.

The Vikings have been underwhelming this season after signing Kirk Cousins in the offseason. They just recently fired John DeFilippo, the highly regarded OC they snagged from the Eagles in the offseason. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t what Miami wants, if only they had kept him for one more week.

Given our defensive performances on the road and an offense looking to get on the right track, I can’t help but feel Miami falls short this week. I hope I’m wrong.

Prediction: Vikings 31, Dolphins 23

Gabe Hauari:

The Dolphins got the kind of emotional win that can turn a whole season around vs. the Patriots last Sunday. The “Miami Miracle” is a play that will go down in NFL history, and could possibly propel the Dolphins into the playoffs if they handle their business the last three weeks of the season.

However….

The Dolphins have been pretty bad on the road this season, and unfortunately I don’t see that stopping this week, especially not without Xavien Howard. The Vikings have a deep stable of receivers, and that matchup really worries me.

The Dolphins can win if they run the ball well and control the clock, and defensively they must get pressure on Kirk Cousins.

After a stinker on the road last week, the Vikings will also be motivated to play well in front of their home crowd, with a new offensive coordinator, with their playoff dreams potentially on the line.

Miami keeps it close, but I think Minnesota wins it late.

Prediction: Vikings 24, Dolphins 21

Travis Wingfield:

To see Travis’ analysis and predictions, click here: https://www.lockedondolphins.com/dolphins/dolphins-at-vikings-week-15-preview/

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