San Francisco 49ers @ Miami Dolphins (-7.5)
Hard Rock Stadium
Announcers: Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis and Chris Spielman
After a long, grueling 2 weeks on the west coast, the Miami Dolphins return home for a long awaited home game. Two amazing comeback victories from Ryan Tannehill and the defense on this west coast trip has South Florida buzzing! Ripping of five consecutive victories, the Dolphins look to continue their winning ways against the lowly, 1-9 49ers.
Although this game has victory written all over it, one cannot overlook another football team, any given week. The 49ers have a very good young tailback in Carlos Hyde and a dual threat QB in Colin Kaepernick. Head coach Chip Kelly believes in a fast paced offense and if successful, could cause the Dolphins defense to tire out early in the South Florida heat. Here are the keys to victory for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday:
1. Banged up OL- we are already aware we will not see Mike Pouncey and Branden Albert. Laremy Tunsil is a game time decision with a shoulder injury. If Tunsil cannot go, the OL will be Sam Young at LT, Kraig Urbick and LG, Anthony Steen at C, Jermon Bushrod at RG and Ja'Wuan James at RT. This make shift OL will be the key to victory. They need to keep a banged up Tannehill upright and make running lanes for Jay Ajayi. Which leads me to:
2. Feed the Jay Train- I expect a MONSTER game from Ajayi. In his previous 3 home games, he has rushed for roughly 500 yards. The 49ers boast the leagues worst rush defenses at almost 175 yards per game. If the Dolphins want to win this game, building a lead early and chewing up time with Ajayi, Williams and Drake are a must. Keep pounding the rock, that will open up play action and time for Tannehill to succeed.
3. Stop Hyde and Kaepernick- these two on the ground could cause big problems for the Dolphins defense. Ranked 30th against the run, the Dolphins will need to keep an eye on Kaepernick on throwing downs. The 49ers receiving corps will not scare anyone on paper, but he is a threat to run on third and manageable, which will keep drives moving. Expect lots of nickel packages and someone spying on him most of the game. Carlos Hyde has been banged up most of the season but can be a very dangerous downhill runner. Building a lead and forcing the run away from the 49ers is a vital key to victory.
4. DVP- 100% the key for the Dolphins wins the previous two weeks, is their second year WR in Devante Parker. He was absolutely masterful against the Chargers with 105 yards receiving and the final drive against the Rams, where he dove for the game winning touchdown with 26 seconds left. Gase must continue to find ways to get him involved. Not only is DVP a must in the game plan to open the field up, this will allow Jarvis Landry to continue to work underneath on crossing routes and slants.
5. Home Field Advantage- 5 consecutive victories, 4-1 on the season at home, you be that Hard Rock Stadium is going to be rocking. For the first time in almost 9 years, the Dolphins will finally be a difficult place to play. Get loud, be proud! This team is making a huge 180 from what we have experienced. Make Hard Rock loud!
This game seems to be an "easy" win for the Dolphins, but as we know, their previous 4 wins have all come in the fourth quarter. I hope to see Miami come out firing in the first quarter, as their sluggish starts have been well documented. They have been outscored 69-27 in opening quarters this season. I believe this trend will change this week as the Dolphins force the 49ers to try and play catch-up. Six consecutive victories and a tie for a wild-card should be on the docket this weekend!
Dolphins 27 49ers 13
Season Record (7-3)
Remember to keep up on all the latest Dolphins news on Dolphinstalk.com and check out our podcast featuring myself and Randy on Monday mornings. Fins Up!