Dolphins Hot, Can Tua Raise the Heat Even More?

By: Antonio Longobardo

The Five-Minute Dolphins/Broncos Preview

The Story

The Dolphins come into week 11 red hot, and we’re not talking candy.

Winners of their last five-with Tua at the helm for the last three-the Miami Dolphins appear to be playing the best football they have in decades. The defense has been outstanding. The special teams? Phenomenal. The offense…opportunistic? Perhaps complimentary is a better description of their play.

The last three games have had offensive yardage outputs of 145, 312, and 280, respectively. Hardly prolific, but when watching the games, you will see the team getting yards when it matters most. More importantly, the defense and special teams have consistently put them in position to not chase points. It seems every week the Dolphins fanbase runs to the mirror to tell themselves, “This defense can’t keep making plays like this.”

And yet, every single week they do.

Three weeks ago it was Andrew Van Ginkel running back a long touchdown on a fumble forced by Ogbah. Two weeks ago, It was a forced fumble of Kyler Murray recovered to the one yard line. Last week, on the Los Angeles Chargers opening drive, the special teams blocked a punt-once again Andrew Van Ginkel with the big play. The defense is hot. The special teams unit is a bully. And the offensive makes the plays when it needs to.

The Broncos come into this home bout on a two-game losing streak. Starting quarterback Drew Lock is fighting an injury but appears primed to make the start. They have no identity on offense, and their typically promising defense has been lackluster. All that said, this is the NFL. There are no easy wins, but this should be a game the Dolphins take control of… if they are the playoff contender they are leading us to believe.

The Game

Look for Miami to take advantage of a banged up, turnover-prone Drew Lock. To date, Lock has posted a QBR of 63.6 in November. That is not good. The Dolphins have the corner ammunition on the outside to cover the limited offensive skill position players the broncos do have in Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant, their most prominent receiving threats.

The Broncos also currently allow the 5th worst sack rate among NFL teams, while Miami is in the middle of the pack at 14th in sacking the quarterback. Expect that ranking to jump up after this weekend

On the offensive side of the ball for the Fins, look for Tua & Co. to take advantage of this porous defense. The Broncos are currently 25th on that side of the ball in yards allowed, but PFF has them ranked as the 6th best unit in the league. The discrepancy lies the terrible position the offense consistently puts the defense in. Chan Gailey must dial up the right plays and be opportunistic. The run defense for the Broncos has been a particular point of strength, so Tua must rely on the now-limited receiving corp to move the chains and create scoring opportunities.

The Prediction

The Dolphins are the better team, and the hotter team. Each week we perpetually believe that this Dolphins squad will morph into the versions of old, losing hand-wrapped wins to worse teams than they. So far, that has not been the case.

I believe Coach Flores has this team playing one week at a time. Playing only the opponent ahead of them, and not the expectations set around them.

The defense will create turnovers, the offensive will move the ball, and Tua has his best game of his career in this spot.

Dolphins 27, Denver 17

The Miami Dolphins bandwagon gets fuller, and so does their win column.