This Sunday’s Dolphins-Pats game at Sun Life Stadium will feature two teams with 2-1 records. While their records may be identical, the two teams could not be more different.
The New England Patriots have been one of the best teams in football in recent years. The Miami Dolphins have muddled in mediocrity. Yet on Sunday it could finally be time for the Dolphins to take a seat at the table.
Miami’s offense does not have quite the pedigree that the Patriots have, but they are not half bad either. Chad Henne is quickly developing into one of the more reliable quarterbacks in the league. It helps that he has one of the best young wide receivers in Brandon Marshall on his side. Davone Bess and Brian Hartline are up and coming talents at wide receiver. The Dolphins also have arguably the best running back duo in the league in Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.
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Chad Henne is capable of leading the Miami offense in to the end zone. The problem for them may be in whether they can slow down the Patriots offense. New England averages 123 yards on the ground and 247 through the air. While the Dolphin defense is good (19th against the run and 9th against the pass) they are likely not good enough to slow the Patriots down enough.
What will do the trick is their running game. Right now it is only ranked 16th in the league next to the Patriots rushing attack that is ranked in the top 10. Defensively, the two teams are only a couple of yards different. However, what makes the difference are the two guys that will be toting the rock for the Dolphins.
Alone they are good; together they are amongst the best in the leagues. While the team has not had much of a passing game in recent years the running game has stepped up to keep the Dolphins in a number of games. With the addition of Brandon Marshall they suddenly have a valid passing attack as well.
Miami’s defense will be able to slow down the Patriot juggernaut, but not stop it. What will stop it will be the Miami offense. Brady can’ score if he can’t get on the field. Williams and Brown are just the two guys to make sure he does not either. When they do it will finally be Miami’s turn to enter the league's elite circle.