Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! So far, Thanksgiving has given us a split, the Bills outlasted the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, while the Patriots fell to the Vikings. The very same Vikings we saw at Hard Rock for the Fest and came away unimpressed as our 3rd string and then second string QB’s, Skylar Thompson and Teddy Bridgewater respectively, made easy work of the Vikings defense. We lost the game, but the refs and our mistakes were the culprits as we amassed lots of yardage and too many penalties, ultimately keeping us from scoring. Nonetheless, the Vikes are a perfect 3-0 against the AFC East, having defeated us, the Bills and now the Patriots.
Big hero in Miami Dolphins lore, Laremy Tunsil returns to Hard Rock, the man, the legend of trade compensation with draft picks that apparently never stop coming. The Texans come in to Miami with 1-8-1 record, having tied the Colts opening day, 20-20, and defeating the Jaguars 13-6 in Week 5. Since then, no wins. Talk about a trap game, the Dolphins coming back rested from their BYE week playing a team with nothing to play for, perhaps only the #1 pick in the draft in 2023. However, they have a cushion at the moment with the next closest team being 2 games ahead of them, so they can win one without worry of losing the first pick. On the other hand, the Texans have made a change at QB this week, pulling starter Davis Mills, and replacing him with backup QB Kyle Allen, formerly of the Redskins and Panthers. Statistically, Allen is a better QB than Mills, but this will be his first game action of the season, as Mills has played and finished every game this season.
Truth is, I’m not concerned about the Texans, my only concern is the Miami Dolphins. If we play our game on our offense, the Texans are going to have a helluva time keeping up with us. I also think our defense who will be rested and had time to heal should be fired up to try and maintain their lead atop the AFC East. This is not the Dolphins of the past 2 decades, this is a different team.This team has a swagger, and if the defense can get sorted out, it can be a team that no one will want to face in the playoffs. Big if there though, so far the defense has been poor to mediocre. We’re still allowing over 24 PPG, 22nd in the NFL. Last season, the defense allowed 21.9 PPG, good for exactly midpack, 16th. The addition of LB Bradley Chubb has already shown dividends. We did lose DE Emmanuel Ogbah, and a combination of Zach Sieler, Andrew Van Ginkel, Jaelan Phillips and possibly others, such as Trey Flowers if he gets healthy enough to return. Ogbah wasn’t really healthy all season, so we never really got the best out of him anyway. Next man up!
Speaking of next man up, that’s what we’ve been doing in our secondary all season. We’ve been hit hard in the secondary, as CB Byron Jones has yet to play a down for us. We’ve lost S Brandon Jones for the season. CB Xavier Howard has been playing with groin injuries all season and I’m hoping that the week off helped there. DB’s Kader Kohou and Keion Crossen have both been injured at different times during the season, leaving us with 1st RD bust DB Noah Igbinoghene, who actually got to play hero with an INT that sealed the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Iggy actually had a couple of games where it seemed like he might be catching on, but he’s once again been relegated to depth with Kohou and Crossen, and even long time vet Justin Bethel ahead of him on the depth chart. Safeties Eric Rowe, Clayton Fejedelem and Verone McKinley III have all tried to replace Brandon Jones, but he’s a dynamic player, physical hitter and expert blitzer we sorely miss.
Texans RB Dameon Pierce has been the workhorse of the offense, and really the lone bright spot. Pierce just keeps chugging away with 780 yards on 175 carries for a very respectable 4.5 YPC. WR Brandin Cooks in the Texans biggest threat for their aerial attack. He has 39 receptions for 461 yards and 1 TD. This offense has not been effective, and I’d like to think our defense will keep it that way. Of course, QB Kyle Allen may come out aggressive, more so than his counterpart Davis Mills who had only 11 TD’s. I’d like to see us dominated this game. I wasn’t at the rainy Fest game when the Dolphins blew out the Texans 43-26, but I’d like something similar, or even more severe, perhaps less points on their side. No matter what, we must win this game to stay on top!