After a crushing week for the Miami Dolphins, they get to “host” the New Orleans Saints in London at Wembley Stadium. This has been a bizarre season already, with Hurricane Irma postponing Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then flying to Los Angeles to play the Chargers in the Stub Hub Center, in which the capacity is just a little bigger than the Dolphins practice bubble (30,000 capacity). We come out of Los Angeles with a victory by the skin of our teeth as Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo goes wide right attempting the game winning 44 yard FG. Then we travel to New Jersey to face what everyone thought was the “tanking” NY Jets, the team seeking to get the 1st pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Well, surprise-surprise! These NY Jets came to play, and though the Dolphins fanbase was present, with Dolfans NYC representing well with over a 1000 screaming Dolfans, along with the many other Dolphins fans that went on their own, they were all soon drowned out by a throaty NY crowd that smelled Dolphins blood in the water. Attendance at Met Life was 77,562, and it was reportedly quite loud, especially compared to the paltry capacity of the Stub Hub Center in Cali.
The Dolphins offense was completely over matched in all facets against the jets this past weekend. We tried to run the ball, but there was no room anywhere, as the jets made it a priority to shut down Ajayi. When we gave up on the run game, and became one dimensional, neither jay Cutler, nor the O-line were up to the task, and the Jets defense that had previously swarmed Ajayi on every run was now all over Jay Cutler. Cutler was sacked 3 times, but he was hit at least 3-4 times that during the game. It was a bad game for Cutler, a bad game for the O-line, and a bad game for the defense, so basically, we got whipped in every area we could. The Saints are coming off a blowout 34-13 win against the Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton was worse than jay Cutler, throwing 3 INT’s and zero TD’s and our old Friend Ted Ginn Jr. caught a 40 YD TD for the Saints.
What can we expect from our team, who has had the strangest beginning to the 2017 NFL season? I haven’t any idea. Thankfully, the Saints don’t possess the defensive talent the NY Jets have. They’re not horrendous, but they don’t have quite the talent of the Jets front 7. The Saints play the 4-3 defense, led by LDE Cameron Jordan, 2nd year and former 1st RD pick (#12) DT Sheldon Rankins at DT, along with Tyeler Davidson and RDE Alex Okafor. The Saints do have a quality LB in rookie Alex Anzalone (WLB), and fill it out with AJ Klein (SLB) and Craig Robertson (MLB). Klein was picked up as a FA from Carolina, and Robertson picked up as a FA from Cleveland, so like Miami, they’re trying to throw pieces together to make it work. Incidentally, as you all know, Stephone Anthony who the Dolphins traded for last week for a 2018 5th RD draft pick will get a chance to face his former team, as will WR Ted Ginn Jr. The Saints have a decent secondary with corners Marshon Lattimore and PJ Williams, along with safeties Kenny Vaccaro and Marcus Williams.
The Saints offense is the strength of their team, led by QB Drew Brees, a fine young WR in Michael Thomas, the aforementioned WR Ted Ginn Jr., a good TE in Coby Fleener (AKA FleenAH), and a stable of capable RB’s including Mark Ingram, former Vikes great Adrian Peterson, and promising rookie Alvin Kamara. The Saints so far are averaging 24.3 PPG, and are 3rd in the NFL in passing yards averaging 378.3 YPG. See a problem there? We just made an all-pro out of Josh McCown, so what will Drew Brees and the Saints offense do to us? First of all, we have to have significantly better balance on offense. Actually, forget balance, we just need to run the ball down their throats the entire game. Ajayi is hurting, but he only had 11 carries this week, and I’d bet he’s hungry to have a big game. I would also guess that we don’t want to put the game squarely on Jay Cutler’s severely diminished arm (Ha!), so this beleaguered O-line gets a shot at redemption by pushing the Saints defense all over the field. This a “home” game, so hopefully we take advantage of that. On defense, we get a boost from the return of LB Lawrence Timmons from suspension, so hopefully his presence gives us a jolt. The Saints packed up and left for London Sunday night after a celebratory dinner. The Dolphins will be traveling to London on Friday. We’ll see which strategy pays off.
GO DOLPHINS! Zero in!
I know UK Fin Fan will be in attendance this Sunday, so let’s hope for his sake the Dolphins give him and us a great football Sunday! We need it!