When the season started, both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins were considered to be up and coming teams, with playoff, and perhaps even a Super Bowl trip predicted by many. I was among those people, and the idea of an Eagles-Dolphins Super Bowl even crossed my mind. Needless to say, those pre-season ideas haven’t played out, and neither team sits above .500. The Eagles have struggled to find consistency all season long, and the Dolphins have been a whirlwind of staffing changes, injuries, false hope, and disappointment. So what should fans from both teams expect from Sunday, as the teams try to keep the hope of a playoff berth alive?
To say the Dolphins have talent would be an understatement. Loaded with playmakers on both offense and defense, there finally seemed to be a team capable of dethroning the Patriots as kings of the AFC East. Instead, the Dolphins sit on a 3-5 record, bottom of their division and have yet to beat a division opponent. So where exactly did it go wrong? Much of their problems come from the defense, and their lack of ability to stop the run. The Dolphins are allowing 142 YPG and an average of 4.5 yards per attempt. Needless to say, they’ve not been good. While they’ve been decent against the passing game, the fact that teams can so easily get their running game going has created more opportunities for opposing offenses. The Eagles on the other hand have been strictly middle of the pack on defense. They’ve done a good job on improving from last year and create a lot of turnovers, but they still have their struggles. They currently boast what is arguably the best safety tandem in the NFL, and a very good front 7, yet they continue to struggle.
Just like with the defense, both team’s offense has ranked into the middle of the pack so far. The main difference however, is that the Eagles have been steadily improving, while the Dolphins continue to struggle. They have the playmakers, but for whatever reason, the Dolphins have had serious problems getting the ball down the field at times. Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Miller have both proved capable of being explosive playmakers, but a lack of consistency has hurt them, just like it has the Eagles. I would expect to see Demarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to have a big game, but the real X-factor is going to be Darren Sproles, for who the Dolphins don’t really have an answer for. Expect Chip to take advantage of this matchup, and I would even go so far as to predict that Sproles will go for over 100 yards.
As for overall predications, I would expect the Eagles to be able to win this one with ease. The offense, especially the run game should have a huge game as long as the O-line continues to play better. Sam Bradford should also have a decent day; he has been getting better with each game and should be good against a Miami secondary that has had its struggles. I’ll say 110 yards rushing for Murray, 83 for Matthews, and 100+ yards from scrimmage for Sproles. As for Sam, I’m predicting 21/33 for 330 yards, two TD’s, and one interception. The defense will also have a good game, registering 4 sacks, and an interception. I’m predicting a final score of 31-17 Eagles. These are pretty bold predications, but I really expect the offense to get going in the Chip envisioned it could.