What a job these 4 guys have this weekend. Our X-Men, led by Xavien Howard, along with Byron Jones, Eric Rowe and Bobby McCain. This game goes way beyond just these 4 players but they will have their hands full this week with Patrick Mahomes throwing to WR Tyreek Hill, TE Travis Kelce, and to a lesser extent, WR’s Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins, as well as RB’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell. It’s going to take a monumental effort to keep this offense in check. The Chiefs come in as the 2nd ranked scoring offense at 30.8 PPG and #6 in scoring defense allowing only 21.2 PPG. The Chiefs have a +116 point differential. The teams that gave the Chiefs the most trouble were the Chargers, Bills, Bucs and Broncos, and of course their lone loss in a shootout with the LV Raiders. I consider that game the anomaly, and I think if we have a course to victory, it’s closer to the way the other teams played them.
This Week 14 game is one of the most exciting times for Dolphins fans in recent history. Yes, in 2016 were 7-5 coming off a demoralizing loss to the Baltimore Ravens (38-6) and we defeated the Arizona Cardinals 28-25 led by Carson Palmer. This is different, way different. I didn’t feel anything like I do now, having a legitimate confidence in our team. We relied on a strong running game with Jay Ajayi and play action from Ryan Tannehill (sound’s like Tennessee eh?) Both our offense and defense were less than midpack. This 2020 team is different. We have a young exciting defense who happens to be #2 in the NFL in points allowed at 17.7 PPG. Our offense is exactly 16th but I have more confidence in this group because it’s a more well rounded offense. If anything, our run game has been a supplement to our passing game. This is Tua’s biggest game as a starter and I feel like he will rise to the occasion. What a game this is, the excitement is tenable. Too bad we couldn’t fill up Hard Rock for this one, I would love to see a raucous stadium pulling for our guys.
This KC offense which is #1 in the NFL in yardage has evolved as most teams do during a season. In the first 6 games they really featured RB CEH (Clyde Edwards-Helaire), but more recently, his role has really been reduced. CEH has an average of 37.4 yards rushing and only 11.4 yards receiving over his last 5 games. For some contrast, CEH averaged 84.1 yards rushing and 29.5 yards receiving in the first 6 games. The one player who has benefited most from this is WR Tyreek Hill. Hill has seen high double digit targets most of the last 5 games and his numbers are astronomical. Hill has 640 yards receiving in the last 5 games which is good for 128 yards per game and he has 8 TD’s. That’s just outrageous. If only Tyreek Hill was all we had to worry about. Travis Kelce also has surged during the last 5 games while CEH has been scaled back. Kelce is right behind Tyreek Hill with 613 yards receiving over the last 5 which is good for 122.6 yards per game. Now as we know, things evolve, and if we look to just shut down Hill and Kelce, another person will emerge, and with CEH, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and even Le’Veon Bell, there are many candidates.
On defense, the Chiefs don’t excel in any one area but they do have a couple of very good players to watch out for. On the DL, Chris Jones is still getting it done with 5.5 sacks and in their secondary, the Honey Badger SS Tyrann Mathieu lurks with 5 INT’s along with FS Daniel Sorensen who has 3 INT’s. Mathieu plays very smart and Tua will have to be careful of him. The starting corners are Bashaud Breeland and Charvarius Ward.
I don’t have an injury report yet for Sunday other than a lot of our guys were limited in practice. Key guys to keep an eye on are LG Ereck Flowers who went out with an ankle sprain. Also, LB Kyle Van Noy has that bad hip along with LB Elandon Roberts who came out with a chest injury last week. Jesse Davis will likely fill in at LG and Solomon Kindley will man the RG spot next to RT Robert Hunt. Sam Eguavoen, Calvin Munson and Kamu Grugier-Hill will fill in for Roberts and Van Noy if they are unable to go. Tua is a go for this one and has apparently ditched the thumb brace. Matt Breida is on COVID-19 but still might be available, and Salvon Ahmed is still dealing with a bad shoulder. I’m not sure where DeAndre Washington is at with his hamstring, he did practice on a limited basis which is a good sign. Myles Gaskin appears to be 100% but he will need help in the backfield other than just Patrick Laird who garnered only 5 touches.
I think this is such an interesting game and my perspective on it changes often. Sometimes I think like we’re playing with house money in this one, we’re not expected to win by any of the experts so if we lose like 10 of the other 11 teams that played them did there’s no shame in that. Part of me wants to think that enough of that loser mentality, we belong here at 8-4 and they play in our house and you know what, our defense is the kind of defense that can match up well against them because we have the talent in the secondary to defend their guys. Our X-Men back there might just give Patrick Mahomes a tough day and if we can find a way to turn him over a couple of times and turn those into scores we can upset the Chiefs. It’s not silly talk either, it’s possible. If I’m being honest, the one thing that worries me is our offense. Will we be able to run the ball effectively and will Tua be up to the task of giant slaying on Sunday. He did it against Arizona which to me is the closest equivalent. He led the team back for the win in that game and maybe has to do that against the Chiefs. All I know is, I haven’t looked forward to a Week 14 Miami Dolphins game with such excitement and happiness since, well, I have no idea really . . .