The Dolphins are now 2-0 for only the second time in a decade, and optimism about the team is all over the place. RYAN TANNEHILL WAS BORN FROM THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST! JOE PHILBIN FINALLY NABBED THOSE RASCALLY KIDS -- WATCH OUT, WORLD! COCKCAKES = SUPER BOWL! BRIAN HARTLINE IS A FELINE FRANCISCAN MONK!
But we here at Miami New Times are measured folks firmly rooted in 2010 wolf-howling and the maddening mediocrity of the past 13 years. The Browns and Colts were nice teams, sure enough, but beating the Falcons -- regardless of their injury report -- would signify a huge leap toward crawling out of the quicksand of recent history. Since 1990, 75 percent of teams that start 3-0 make the playoffs. Barring an epic bed-shitting, the Dolphins are looking pretty good if we win Sunday.
So, what to watch for?
1. The O-Line Must Do Much Better at Protecting Tannehill
Tannehill has been sacked nine times and hit enough to be nursing a sore shoulder during the week. This is not good considering how really well Tannehill has been playing. This would be sorta OK if the offensive line were providing a strong push in the run game, but that hasn't exactly been the case. Protect Tannehill, or there goes the season and in comes this fucking guy:
2. Buena Suerte Covering Julio Jones, Roddy White, AND Tony Gonzalez, Bro
This will be the biggest test yet for the Dolphins' young secondary as they face maybe the scariest WR/TE combo in the NFL. Brent "COCKCAKES" Grimes will have his, errrr, hands full with Julio Jones; things are not looking good for CB Dimitri Patterson to play this Sunday; and God knows the Dolphins cover tight ends like they have pigeon assholes for eyes. Which brings us to our next IMPORTANT ANALYTICAL BULLET.
3. Hey, Philbin, Why Not Play Shelby and Jordan More Than Shitty Vernon?
Olivier Vernon had a great camp and all, but he's been pretty craptastic in the regular season thus far. Derrick Shelby and #3 OVERALL PICK WHO IS PROBABLY NOT MADE OF FINE PORCELAIN Dion Jordan should get more playing time over Vernon at this point. Jordan is especially good at dropping back in zone coverage and is athletic enough to keep up (most of the time) with a tight end like Tony Gonzalez. We hope Philbin stops thinking of these two whippersnappers as a couple of no-good varmints and gets them some more playing time against the Falcons.
4. The Falcons are Banged Up, Which Is Very Fortunate for Us
Their tackles are battled and shitty anyway. They lost their starting RB and very scary monster-person Steven Jackson for at least a couple of weeks. Their linebackers are decimated. CB Asante Samuel has seen limited action. Roddy White has a high ankle sprain. This is a very banged-up team, so the Dolphins are extremely fortunate to face them now, and the Fins should make every effort to exploit these injuries where they can: by making the Falcons explosive offense one-dimensional, use our defensive line advantage to pressure Matt Ryan, and do our best to be aggressive up front on offense to run the ball into the Falcons' banged-up second level.
If we take advantage of their injuries and get the ball to our playmakers, we might be doin' that playoffs dance, babies!
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The Dolphins take on the Falcons at home this Sunday. Kickoff is at 4:05 p.m.