The author has decided to take a different approach this week. It is, after all, Thanksgiving Week, and I’ve decided to look for things to be thankful for. First off, our record is actually 5-5, and that’s not a bad place to be. It’s been an odd year in the NFL, with a handful of good to elite teams in each conference, followed by a lot of average to poor teams. The Chiefs (9-2), Steelers (7-2-1) and Texans (7-3) lead their divisions, but the Chiefs are the only team that is being challenged within their division, as the LA Chargers are in 2nd at (7-3). Every other division leader is followed by a .500 team. We’re one of em, as we trail the Patriots (7-3). So there’s hope, right?
On paper this could be a tough matchup for us. The Colts are flying high, and Andrew Luck is looking more like the Andrew Luck of old. The Colts are putting up points, lots of them, scoring 29.8PPG. That’s good for 5th in the NFL. After 10 games, Luck already has 29 TD’s, and even more impressive, only 9 INT’s. Impressive, considering he’s thrown the ball 400 times already. The good news is, if there’s one thing we do well, it’s take the ball away on defense, especially in the passing game. In fact, which team is #1 in INT’s in the NFL? Your very own Miami Dolphins!
The Colts have a running game, but their offense is all about Andrew Luck and the passing game. I hope Frank Reich and OC Nick Sirianni decide to throw all day, I think we can make things difficult for them. The Colts leading receiver is the super fast and diminutive T.Y. Hilton, with 585 yards and 6 TD’s on 38 receptions. Right behind him has been TE Eric Ebron who came over from the Lions has really flourished in Indy. Ebron is having a career year with Luck, 39 receptions for 463 yards and 9 TD’s. Ebron had just 11 TD’s in his first 4 seasons with Detroit.
The Colts running game, like most NFL teams these days, is a 3 headed attack. Marlon Mack, who is finally healthy is the lead back, and he’s spelled by Jordan Wilkins. Nyheim Hines is Luck’s receiving back. While Mack has 471 yards rushing, Hines has 226 yards receiving. Hopefully, we’re able to contain the backs, and although the passing game is where the Colts live and breathe, it’s where I think we can make things tough on them.
The biggest hole in my strategy is our lack of pass rush. That, and the fact that Bobby McCain is questionable. We will once again be forced to employ many different combinations of CB’s and safeties, and Minkah will likely reach a new high in snaps this week. He’s got to be on the field, he’s bar none our best cover guy out there next to Xavien Howard. Minkah has been better than Howard, but I give Howard his due, he’s been very good himself. So Minkah will play LCB, SCB, FS, SS, LB, he probably shouldn’t come off the field unless he’s spent.
So where do we generate a pass rush? Charles Harris is quite questionable, which means that Cam Wake and Robert Quinn are going to get a lot of snaps. Cameron Malveaux is no longer a Dolphin, so depth wise it’s Andre Branch and Jonathan Woodard, unless Harris suits up. Quinn and Wake need to have big days. That’s it folks, if these guys can step it up, and hit Luck early and often, it could lead us to something special, a huge upset of the Colts.
Ryan Tannehill returns this week, and no, he’s not at 100%. He needs to hunger for this. He’s seen the team slip in his absence, he has to want to get in there and right the ship. The good news is that Tunsil and James look to be good to go despite both of them nursing injuries. Larsen is questionable, but Jake Brendel may not be such a bad consolation. It seems like our whole team is questionable for this game, but I think they’ll all play, including Kenyan Drake, and possibly even Devante Parker. I hope Tannehill seizes this day, and makes us a winner. It would be a great story. Maybe after this victory, it leads to more victories, and we have an improbably playoff run. It has to start somewhere, and this is as good a place as any.
So back to Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for the community we have here. I haven’t met all of you here, still working on that, but I have met quite a few. You’re a wonderful bunch, it’s been a pleasure to get know all of you, even the ones I haven’t yet met. I hope you all enjoy this week with family, friends, whoever you spend it with. It’s always been a holiday where I learn to appreciate my family, which keeps on growing. A Dolphins upset win over the Colts would be a great dessert, wouldn’t it?