The last week of the 2020 NFL Regular season is upon us, and no matter what the outcome of our game versus the Buffalo Bills is, I’m thankful for our Dolphins for giving us a great season. Whether we win or lose, make the playoffs or don’t make the playoffs, I think I’d be hard pressed to find a Dolphins fan that feels that this 2020 team didn’t exceed their expectations. This team had a bumpy start but once we got rolling, we have been an ultra competitive team. Our worst loss was the first game of the season against the Patriots losing by 10 points. Since then, our loss to the Seahawks in Week 4 was our 2nd worst losing by 8. Our seasons point differential is +96. We are the #1 scoring defense (points allowed) at 18.8 in the NFL. If I told any of you we’d be traveling to Buffalo Week 17 with a 10-5 record as the #5 seed in the AFC, there’s not one of you who wouldn’t be thrilled with those circumstances.
I’m not going to bore with you with last week’s theatrics, we won a game we had no business winning but we did win, and now we live to fight another day. Coach Brian Flores has already decided that Tua Tagovailoa is the starter. Is this decision made for this week or for the future as well? I’d say in some ways it’s probably both, but I also believe that Flores believes Tua is his best QB. I don’t think Flores is a puppet and no one is pulling his strings. He’s making the personnel decisions and he’s declared Tua is the QB. Once again, I mean absolutely no disrespect to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick but there is a fine line between Fitzmagic and Fitztragic. He’s a gambler, and as everyone knows, sometimes ya win and sometimes ya lose. I’m going to enlighten some of you here, so be prepared. Over Ryan Fitzpatrick’s career, his TD% is 4.4 and his INT% is 3.3. Tua Tagovailoa in his short career has a TD% of 4.3 and an INT% of 0.9%. This doesn’t tell the entire story, and there are many metrics to look at, but I think Flores wants a player that’s careful with the football, and Tua Tagovailoa is that guy. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t be better, he can, and hopefully Sunday he will be.
The Bills are 12-3 for a reason. The best teams in the NFL score points, and the Bills are the 4th best scoring offense at 29.7 PPG. Their passing offense is #2 in the NFL throwing for 4,398 yards. Josh Allen is having a monster year, completing 69.1 % of his passes with 4,320 yards with 34 TD’s and just 9 INT’s. The Bills defense is stingier giving up yards than our Dolphins as they are ranked at the #10 defense in the NFL but they are allowing nearly a TD more per game than our defense. Their rushing attack is on par with our own rushing attack and they have used a 1-2 punch with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. They are 19th in the league rushing and we are 22nd. The problem is their rushing attack doesn’t stop with these 2. QB Josh Allen is a legitimate weapon with over 4oo yards rushing and 8 rushing TD’s. When they’re in the red zone, you have to account for the QB running as well.
On the injury front, we know that LB Elandon Roberts is OUT along with Jakeem Grant. Practicing on a limited basis were WR DeVante Parker, OL Solomon Kindley and S Bobby McCain. McCain is not a threat to miss the game. Both TE Mike Gesicki and G Ereck Flowers were both FULL participants. That’s good news. I think Elandon Roberts is done for the season and that’s unfortunate. He wouldn’t be getting as many snaps this week anyway because the Bills throw the ball more. Can we talk about a Dolphins defender who gets very little ink in NFL circles? #55, Jerome Baker is having a great season. He leads the Dolphins with 108 tackles, he has 11 QB hits, 7 tackles for a loss along with 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. This really is a no-name defense, with the exception of X who is known league wide. So many contributors including lesser known Zach Sieler, Elandon Roberts, Eric Rowe, Andrew Van Ginkel, rookie Raekwon Davis, Christian Wilkins, Nik Needham and a guy who leads the Dolphins in sacks, Emmanuel Ogbah. Hope Ogbah can be the first Dolphins defender since Cam Wake to have double digit sacks with a great game against the Bills. We need to take Josh Allen down! Hopefully Shaq Lawson can make it for this game, although AVG certainly made his presence felt.
In summation, I think it’s important to have the right perspective. The Dolphins are a team on the rise, no question about it. We have built a team so quickly it’s shocking. We are set up to have another strong draft and a top 5 draft pick which currently stands at #3. Once again we have TWO 1st RD picks and TWO 2nd RD picks, most likely 4 in the top 60. We also have a fair amount of cap space ($32M) as well to fill in Free Agency. The future looks so much brighter than we could have imagined. I didn’t expect us to be at 10-5 going into the last week of the NFL season. I didn’t expect our team to be this good, this fast. Whatever happens this weekend, the future is bright my friends, enjoy it!
Happy New Year!!