By Mike DeVito
- Take advantage of Miami’s poor run defense.
It’s hard to believe that the Dolphins are 30th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (141.8) when they have defensive linemen like Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake, and Mario Williams but it’s the truth. Over the past three games the Dolphins have allowed well over a hundred yards rushing, with their worst run performance coming against the Bills where they surrendered a whopping 261 yards on the ground. The problem with players like the three mentioned, is that they play a very aggressive, penetrating style that’s tends to be high risk and high reward. New England’s offensive line does a great job of running both gap and zone scheme runs but because of the way the Dolphins play upfront the zone style of running is a great option for Sunday. Because Miami is so aggressive off the football they have a tendency to lose leverage and their gap responsibilities creating major holes in the zone run game.
The best way to protect your QB and to make sure he is healthy for the playoffs (outside of sitting him on the bench) is to get the run game going early and often. Not only does it open up different pass concepts because it will force defenses to stack the box but more importantly it slows down the pass rush, thus keeping big Ndamukong Suh off of TB12.
- Don’t underestimate Matt Moore.
Having played against Moore when I was with the J-E-T-S I know from experience that he is a QB that is more than capable of winning games. While filling in for Tannehill over the past 2 games, Moore is 28/48 with 6 TD’s and 2 int’s. He is a tough QB who will stand in the pocket and can make all the plays. Taking into account the Dolphins productive run game with Jay Ajayi, this is an offense that has the ability to win this game if New England doesn’t play the way they are capable of.
- Prepared for the HEAT???
During my 6 years with the Jets I came to the realization that I would rather play in Miami at the beginning of the season when I was fresh out of training camp as opposed to the end of the year when I had played in mostly cold weather games. The heat is probably the number one reason why playing the Dolphins at their place is so difficult. Almost every time I played in Miami I cramped up…bad…and it happened to a lot of players. The last thing New England needs is to have some of their key players sidelined because they are trying to get rehydrated. Knowing the way the Pats prepare for every detail of the game, I’m sure this won’t be an issue but it is something to keep an eye on.
Mike DeVito (@MikeDeVito70) is a 9-year NFL veteran, playing with the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs. He is an alum of the University of Maine, color analyst for Black Bears football on TV and is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm-6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowmaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.