Friday, December 2, 2011

Raiders preparing for 3-1, not 3-8, Dolphins

By Nick St. Denis

After starting the season 0-7, the Miami Dolphins strung together three victories before suffering a 1-point loss to the Dallas Cowboys last week.

The Oakland Raiders (7-4), who are fighting to maintain a hold of the AFC West lead, have seen enough from the Dolphins this season to take their trip to Miami Sunday seriously.

"If you look at the film and you had to say, ‘Match the record with the team,’ you would never think this team is a 3-8 team – not from a defensive perspective," Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders told the media Thursday. "This is a very, very, very sound defense and they play very well.

"I don’t know if their record has created a kind of perception of them doing more. I think they’re just finding themselves as a young defense and they’re playing better, and they’re playing very, very hard and they’re playing very physical."

Raiders head coach Hue Jackson agreed.

"I mean what they did earlier in the year has nothing to do with what they’re doing now," Jackson told the media Thursday. "They’re playing good football, so we’ve got to go down there and play our best football game."

The Dolphins have picked it up on offense in the second half of the season, but Miami's recent success has stemmed from the defense. In each of their three victories, the Dolphins held their opponents to single digits.

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