Welcome to the all new Miami Dolphins fan site. After this weekend, you all will want to simply stop rooting for the Buffalo Jills and start rooting for the only team in the AFC that has ever really mattered. Consider your history. Have you ever really cared about beating the Cropdusters or the Cheatriots? No. Why? Simple, because the only team in the AFC East that matters is the Dolphins and so long as you can beat us, you consider yourself as having a successful season.
Now, all kidding aside, Paul and I have decided to “hijack” each others’ sites and post up what we think about the opening weekend match-up between our two teams. You can read Paul’s write up at Phinphanatic.com.
The Miami Dolphins are coming into Buffalo riding a 5 game losing streak at Orchard Park. The Phins also are riding a an opening day losing streak of 4 games. So the odds are stacked against the Phins breaking two of their longest losing streaks.
The Dolphins are finding themselves in a similar situation as the Bills this year. Lacking a real identity and likely playing to stay off the bottom of the division. For the Dolphins, the Bills game poses an almost must win feel. The next 8 games are against high profile playoff teams and the Dolphins could easily find themselves playing for a draft position if they don’t get off to a quick start.
The Phins are loaded with talent but unfortunately that talent is very young. In fact, the Dolphins are fielding one of, if not the youngest defense in the league. While most teams will focus on the offensive side of the ball where the addition of Brandon Marshall makes the unit look to be strong, the truth is that the Phins defense is what is going to take them deep into the season.
The Dolphins have struggled in passing defense and unless Mike Nolan’s blitz schemes can put pressure on Trent Edwards, the Bills passing game and the “check down dumps” of Edwards, should continually eat up yardage. I look for CJ Spiller to have a great game on the outside where rookie LB Koa Misi struggles with containment.
Offensively, the Dolphins have not been on the same page. Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall can’t seem to find a working rhythm and the running game, strong last season, has only averaged a 1.5 yards per carry in pre-season. The offensive line that once was supposed to be a huge factor in the success of the running game, has shown very little through four pre-season games.
If I were a Bills fan, well, I would shoot myself first, and then I would watch to see how the Dolphins’ pass rush effected my QB. This game is going to ride on two things. The ability of the Dolphins front 7 to get pressure on Edwards, and their ability to stop Spiller from reaching the corner. If the Dolphins defense can do that, this game will be close.
Offensively for the Dolphins two players to watch are Brian Hartline the number 2 WR and Anthony Fasano the TE. Both are expecting to be more involved with the passing game as teams will likely stack towards Marshall’s side. Chad Henne is not known for his touch on his throws and that could prove pivotal. If the Bills can take out Marshall and the above mentioned 2, they will be able to close down the running lanes and force Miami to take risks they don’t want to. The Dolphins offense under OC Dan Henning has been very predictable the last two seasons.
This game is matching up well for both teams and in a division that is becoming one of the toughest in the league, it’s imperative for both teams to take positive steps forward. The loser of this game will be fighting an up hill battle all season for sure.