Why The Dolphins Will Win In London
A win will come from the equal parts of Fin’s talent and Saints lack thereof
It might sound crazy to say after last week, but the Miami Dolphins will win this Sunday because their Offensive Line will win fairly handily against the Saints Defensive Line.
Yeah, the Jets D-Front– and some squirrel calls by Adam Gase–had the Dolphins Offensive Line victimized, but this week it will be quite a different story.
Why? Well first, the Saints are ranked 23rd in the league in rush defense, giving up 126.7 yards per game with a 4.6 YPC. The fact that the Saints only gave up 3 twenty+ yard gains means they are giving it up consistently like a two-dollar crack ho on a drug binge.
Now consider the Jets, they rank behind the Saints at 26th, but they gave up 5 twenty+ yard runs with 2 forty+ yard runs. Take away those runs and their 400 yards given up is nearly cut in half. In the proper context, Jets are substantially better statistically than the Saints and that’s not digging into the talent level difference between the two Defensive Lines–but don’t worry, I will.
Remember the formula for success is your team’s talent verse the talent of the team you’re playing… of course, then there are the ingredients of match ups and play calls to complete the flavor of the brew.
But before we continue on with the run game, let’s hit the Saints passing defense like a drive by: Saints are ranked 29th in pass defense and have given up 19 twenty+ yard receptions. They are tied for second worst in chunk yards surrendered. Let that sink in for a bit.
Dolphins need a win in the biggest way this week
I can’t predict Gase’s game plan or the calls, so that’s a rather large variable, especially given the ‘head scratcheres’ last Sunday. But I can talk about the match ups:
The Jets have two of the best interior line men in the game, and if you include their NT, all three have power in spades. Muhammed Wilkerson, Steve McLendon, and Leonard Williams could be argued as the best interior 3-4 in the NFL. The Saints aren’t even in shouting distance of that.
The Dolphins Interior OL struggles with power, especially Mike Pouncey and Anthony Steen. For Pouncey it’s about his hips… he hasn’t likely done heavy squats in years. From a physical talent standpoint, he’s slightly above average at this point in his career. But his excellent height of 6’5”, savviness, and experience make him what he is. For Steen, his issues with power appears to be a mix of technique and lack of natural strength. In the end, both lack the ability to deal with power.
Thankfully, just like the Chargers, the Saints don’t have much interior power. Both the Saints and Chargers prefer wider alignments, and speed and agility inside. This is a very good thing for the Dolphins. Look at the Chargers run defense stats: They are ranked 31st in run defense with 146 YPG. But context is the key as they faced the Broncos, Chiefs, and Dolphins. And, like the Jets, they have surrendered a number of big gains on the ground with 4 twenty+ yards runs and 1 forty + yard run. The Chargers have made bigger mistakes and faced better rushing teams, longer extrapolation will likely see them as the better run defense than the Saints.
A Dolphins win will reset the season
The film below is EVERY play the Saints DL made last week, whether in run stop or pass rush. Given that the Panthers were in passing mode midway through the 2nd Qtr, this is pathetic. The one sack in the Red Zone was a total breakdown in coverage, so really the Saints had one D-Linemen make a play per quarter. The last play shows Ryan Khalil against the DL interior… this was pretty much replayed throughout the game. This is likely what will occur with Pouncey come game time.
The down side to tomorrows win is that we still won’t be able to gauge the Dolphins… other than they are doing what they should. Gase will still need to prove he has found the pulse of this team, specifically the capabilities of his O-Line in contrast to the talents of each weeks defensive abilities. But, if they somehow lose this week, then it won’t take a per head sportsbook to figure out that this season will likely end up a disaster.
Even though a loss will show more than a win, I’ll take the “W” with a giddy smile–please, please, pretty please!
Okay, in closing, I’m here to remind all you fans what you already know… the game of football is about the trenches. As goes the Offensive and Defensive Lines, so goes the game. Miami will win in the trenches–they’d darn well better. Go Fins!!!