Saints Need To Run The Rock To Beat The Dolphins
By Greg Barber
The Miami Dolphins are coming to the Superdome to battle the New Orleans Saints on Monday night and the world will be watching to see which of these undefeated teams are for real. Both teams have a lot of strengths, but it will be the weaknesses of their foe that the Saints and Dolphins will be looking to expose on primetime television.
With that being said, there are two keys on offense and two on defense that the Saints need to take advantage of that will go a long way in winning this tough matchup.
In the Dolphins last two games, the Indianapolis Colts ran for 133 yards and the Atlanta Falcons finished with 146 rushing yards. The Dolphins defense tends to over pursue the running play, which leaves cutback lanes open and significant chunks of field for the running back to roam.
This will be a good game to get rookie RB Khiry Robinson some meaningful playing time and see what he can really do when it matters. Fellow RBs Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles should also have better games Monday, provided the offensive line can open up some running lanes.
Take What The Defense Gives You
The Dolphins have the classic “bend but don’t break" mentality on defense in the sense that they will get the timely stops they need to keep the opposing offense from scoring. To break this defense, the Saints offense will need “patience and progress” to succeed. This means that as often as QB Drew Brees likes to get the big chunk plays when driving down the field, forcing plays will only get him in trouble.
Against the Dolphins defense, Brees will need to take whatever they give him, and they will give him plenty if he is patient. As the offense is progressing down the field, the defense will wear down as the game goes on. In other words, instead of looking for five to eight play drives for the score, expect those drives to be longer, which can eventually lead to shorter drives for scores later because the defense will be worn down.
QBs Matt Ryan of the Falcons and Andrew Luck of the Colts were impatient against the Dolphins defense and tried to force the big play down the field and lost in the end. The big plays will be there for the Saints, but they have to cherish the little ones first for the Dolphins to loosen up.
Keep Tannehill Off Balance
Miami QB Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 14 times in the first three games of the season which means one of two things - either the offensive linemen are bad or the quarterback is holding the ball too long. I think that there is a little of both going on here. Both Dolphins tackles can not handle speed rushers because most of the times Tannehill was sacked, the pressure came from the outside.
To beat the Saints pass rush, the Dolphins will use a lot of slant plays and flat routes to get rid of the ball quickly. The Saints will use several different looks to force Tannehill to make reads and maybe throw off his timing, which also makes him susceptible to coverage sacks. You can bet the house that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will have something new for Tannehill on Monday night.
Contain The Run Game
Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas are good running backs, but the Saints defense has to make them a non-factor early on in the game to make the Dolphins predictable. Miller is very impressive, and he will be a force as the season progresses. Saints fans better hope he does not have a breakout game on Monday.
The Saints are 2-0 at home and Dolphins are 2-0 on the road. According to Vegas Insider, the Saints are favored to win by 6.5 points. I think the Saints will win this game by a little more than that.
Saints 31, Dolphins 15