These past five games haven’t all been pretty, especially last week’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, but the Miami Dolphins are finding ways to win. There is still room to grow in positions for both side of the ball but good teams find ways to win despite a lack of talent in certain areas. And that is a reason to believe, going into Week 12, that Miami is finally turning the corner and starting to become a good team.
Miami will host the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday in hopes that they can pull in another win and keep themselves relevant in the playoff race. A 49ers team with a 1-9 record might seem like a walk in the park, but in this league, nothing is guaranteed. So here is some important factors that Miami needs to capitalize on this Sunday in order to earn their sixth straight win.
Run the ball, run the ball and run the ball:
San Francisco is ranked dead last in defending the run and is giving up an average of 179.5 rushing yards per game. With Jay Ajayi coming into this game with 802 yards, this could reasonably be the game that he finally breaks the 1,000-yard mark.
The only thing standing in the way of Miami having a big rushing day is themselves. Mike Pouncey is officially ruled out. Branden Albert is doubtful and Laremy Tunsil is questionable with a shoulder injury. Last week’s game showed how critical it is to have all the starters healthy for this offensive line. The Dolphins need to find a way the execute with a make-shift offensive line this week to show that they can get by until the starters are healed up.
Continue to get DeVante Parker the ball:
Miami was listless on offense for most of the game last week. It wasn’t until the last five minutes of the game that the Dolphins could get something going and move the ball. During that time, it felt like it was the Ryan Tannehill and DeVante Parker show. Tannehill even looked to Parker for the game winning touchdown and the duo didn’t disappoint as Parker hauled in the catch.
These past two games have been a positive sign for Parker’s development as Tannehill’s number one target. Parker has been underwhelming for most of the season and has not been living up to the praise the experts gave him coming into his second year. Parker needs to continue to put on shows like last week to show that he’s worth the first-round pick Miami spent on him.
Stop the run:
While Miami did keep their opponent’s leading rushing under 100 yards for the second straight week, the Dolphins have a problem with giving up big runs. San Francisco is coming into this game as a top-ten rushing team. Hopefully, this is the week that Miami finds a way to completely shut down the run game. Otherwise, this might be the factor that allows the Niners to keep this a competitive game.
While no Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick has the athletic ability to run outside the pocket and force defenders to come off their assignments. The Dolphins should consider keeping a spy on Kaepernick during certain points in the game to force him to throw from the pocket. It will be from there that Dolphins can make big defensive plays and keep this San Francisco offense from staying in the game.
Execution is key for Miami this week. A quick start on offensive execution as well as proper execution in run defense will not only go far them this week but also in the weeks to come.