Dolphins vs Texans: A week 6 Preview
Posted on: October 11, 2008 10:07 am
I’m sorry this is so late in the week but it’s been a busy work week. After coming off of two big victories, the fear here is that the Dolphins have a let down against the Houston Texans after beating the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers. Several experts have picked the Houston Texans to win, more than likely for that very reason. This is the first weekend all year where I’ve felt very confident that the Dolphins do win. There are several reasons I don’t see a let down happening. First and foremost is that the Miami Dolphins are not going to forget that they were 1-15 last year. Two wins don’t take the sting away from the fact that they almost were the first team in NFL history to go a whole season winless. Second, they also realize that the team across the sideline from them is the ONLY team that they have never beaten. They are 0-3 vs the Texans since they joined the NFL. Several analysts have said that the Texans are due for an offensive explosion. That may be true but in order to have an offensive explosion, they have to control the line of scrimmage and this is not going to be the week that happens. The Dolphins have controlled the line of scrimmage against both of those teams and both of those teams have much better units on both sides of the line. Steve Slaton has given them a boost in the running game but he’s not LaDainian Tomlinson. I know LT was dinged up last week but LT at 80% is better than any rookie RB at 100%. The Dolphins are giving up 3.3 yds/carry for a total of 82.8 yds a game and they’ve only given up 2 TDs rushing. The Texans, on the other hand are giving up a robust 4.5 yds a carry for 139.8 yds/game and are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for most rushing TDs given up with 8. Advantage: Dolphins The Dolphins are giving up 206 yds a game in the air and have given up seven TDs but have sacked the QB 12 times. Those numbers are skewed anyway because they gave up the majority of the TDs and the yardage in one game against the Cardinals. In addition to that, of course the Patriots and Chargers tried to throw the ball at the end of their games because they were losing. The Texans give up 194.5 yds/game in the air and have given up six TDs. The thing that’s striking though is that they’re giving up that kind of yardage while losing their 4 games and giving up so much yardage on the ground. Worse than that, they only have 5 sacks. Advantage: Dolphins Turnover margin is decidedly in the Dolphins favor. The Dolphins are +1 in turnover margin while the Texans are -5. The Texans have thrown 6 Interceptions and have 3 fumbles while the Dolphins only have 1 interception and 1 Fumble. On the Defensive side of the ball, there’s no comparison. On the Offensive side of the ball, the numbers are a little closer. The Dolphins are averaging 4.3yds/carry and 126 yds/game and have scored six TDs on the ground. Most of the yardage and TDs has come in the last two games. They only carried the ball 42 times in the first 2 games and 74 times in their 2 wins. The Texans are averaging 4.4 yds a carry for 114 yds and have scored 4 TDs on the ground. As we’ve already established, Fumbles are Houston 3, Miami 1. Slight advantage: Miami The Dolphins are averaging 215 yds/game with a completion percentage of 66.4 and have scored 4 TDs with only 1 interception. The Texans are averaging 218 yds/game with a completion percentage of 64.3 and have scored 5 TDs but have given up a whopping 6 interceptions. In addition the Texans have given up 10 sacks while Miami has given up 8. Turnovers alone make this Advantage: Miami. The Texans effectively have no pass rush outside of Mario Williams. He has 4 of their 5 sacks and is the only playmaker on this defense. DeMeco Ryans and Zach Diles are having good seasons so far at Linebacker but it’s much harder to make plays at linebacker when your D-line is in your lap. On offense, Matt Schaub is a good QB playing behind a horrible Offensive Line. He is going to be as good as the protection he gets. Andre Johnson, when healthy, may be one of the best WRs in the league and Kevin Walters and Owen Daniels are nice compliments who can make plays when the defense rotates to Johnson. Are they a better receiving corps than the Chargers WRs? Maybe but it’s really close. Are they better than New Englands combination of Randy Moss and Wes Welker? Not a chance. Slaton has been a nice surprise for the Texans but Sportsline has tempered expectations for him to produce this weeks against the Dolphins. Here’s the quote! “The Texans have not run well against 3-4 defenses of late. Chris Taylor's 99-yard, one TD game vs. Cleveland in December of the 2006 season is the last time a Texans rusher posted a good game against one of those kinds of schemes. Last year, primary and secondary running backs totaled 64 carries for 246 yards (3.8 avg.) with one touchdown in three games against 3-4 defenses.” If you cannot run the ball, you can’t slow the pass rush. If you can’t slow the pass rush with a poor offensive line, your QB spends a lot of time on his back. I’m not calling for a blow out but I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m looking forward to watching a game where I expect my Dolphins to win for the first time in a long time. The match-up on paper is lopsidedly in the Dolphins favor. Parcells and Sparano are not going to let the Dolphins rest on their laurels and be happy with 2 wins. Look for the Dolphins to come out and play the same physical ball control style they have played the last 2 weeks and don’t be surprised to see Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combine for 50+ carries. Go Dolphins!