The 1-0 Miami Dolphins travel to Indianapolis to take on the 1-0 Colts in a 1:00 kickoff. Miami is coming off a 23-10 win in Cleveland, while the Colts held off the Oakland Raiders 21-17 in Indianapolis.
After 1 week, the Dolphins rank 25th in the league in total offense generating 275 yards per game, 15th in pass offense at 255 yards per game while ranking 31st in rushing offense at 20 yards per game. They will face an Indianapolis defense that ranks 20th in total defense. They rank 11th in pass defense, giving up 201 yards a game, and rank 31st in rush defense, giving up 171 yards a game.
Miami had a horrible game in regards to running the football, as they mustered 20 yards on 23 carries in the game last Sunday in Cleveland. That has to change this Sunday against the Colts, a team that gave up 171 yards rushing last week to the Raiders. A key point that needs to be bought up is that 112 of those yards came from QB Terrelle Pryor. QB Ryan Tannehilll has the ability to make plays with his legs, but the Dolphins don't use Tannehill in the same way that the Raiders featured Pryor in the run game. The offensive line play will have to improve greatly for the Dolphins to become more balanced and create run lanes for RB Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. WR Mike Wallace was double much of the afternoon, and only had 1 catch for 15 yards. I expect that to change, especially if the Colts give the same type of cushion that Cleveland gave Wallace. With the Browns doubling Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson stepped up with big games, as Harline had 9 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Gibson had 7 catches for 77 yards, and TE Charles Clay stepped up and had 5 catches in the game. QB Ryan Tannehill help the Dolphins convert on 8-16 on 3rd down, and Ryan will need to be solid again. Controlling DE Robert Mathis will be key, as the Dolphins did give up 4 sacks in the game against the Browns.
Defensively, the Dolphins rank 9th in the NFL, giving up 291 yards per game. They come in 15th in pass defense giving up 244 yards per game, while ranking 3rd in the NFL against the rush giving up 47 yards per game. They will be facing Colts offense that ranks 26th in total offense, generating 274 yards per game, 29th in pass offense at 147 yards per game, 5th in rush offense at 127 yards per game. The run game took a blow as RB Vick Ballard tore his ACL is out for the year, so the Colts will be counting heavily on RB Ahmad Bradshaw. The Dolphins had 6 sacks and 3 interceptions in the game last week, and will want to generate that same type of pressure on QB Andrew Luck, as he was sacked 4 times in the game Sunday agains the Raiders. Luck does have weapons to work with, as he has the still dangerous WR Reggie Wayne to go along with explosive WR TY Hilton and TE Coby Fleener. They will be missing TE Dwayne Allen, who is listed as doubtful with a hip injury.
Speaking of TY Hilton, the Dolphins will need to be solid in the Special Teams battle, as Hilton is a very dangerous punt returner. Calib Sturgis began his placekicking career on a solid note, as he made all 3 field goal attempts, and punter Brandon Fields was his usual spectacular self averaging 54.0 yards per punt. Marcus Thigpen gives the Dolphins their own dangerous return man.
Miami lost a tightly contested game to the Colts in 2012 in Indianapolis 23-20, as Andrew Luck had a field day against the Dolphins defense, throwing for 433 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Dolphins defense looks to be a much improved unit, and will need to put consistent pressure on Luck while containing the Indy run game. I believe Miami can do just that, while the offense will be more productive with the running game this week against a Colts defense that is not at the same level as the Browns.
In another game in which most of the so called experts favor the Colts, once again, I believe the Dolphins can go on the road and get another win. Give me Miami, 24-17.
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