Saturday, September 29, 2012

Week 4 AFC East game picks: Dolphins at Cardinals

Lead writer Nick St. Denis and AFC East Daily contributors Dan Begnoche, Sean Donovan and Sam Hollingsworth pick the Miami Dolphins' road bout with the Arizona Cardinals.

Nick's take:
The Cardinals' 31st-ranked offense, which has gained just 262.3 yards a game through three weeks, has been good enough for an undefeated record. That's probably because Arizona's defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks a combined 12 times while forcing four fumbles -- all if which it recovered -- including one for a touchdown. The Cards' top-tier defensive unit will overpower Miami's developing offense and make enough plays to compensate for its not-very-good offense against a stout Dolphins defense.
Prediction: Cardinals 24, Dolphins 17

Sean's take:
The Cardinals are the biggest surprise of the young season, not just because they're 3-0 but because they've beaten favorites New England and Philadelphia to get there. But after three weeks, their team is decimated by injuries while relying on quarterback Kevin Kolb to sustain the success. In a matchup between two teams with under-the-radar defenses and inconsistent offenses, the Dolphins take a step forward and eek out the upset on the road.
Prediction: Dolphins 23, Cardinals 20

Dan's take:
Arizona has relied heavily its defense to win games, holding the Patriots to only 18 points in Week 2. On the flip side, Miami has been riding on the back of running back Reggie Bush's success while quarterback Ryan Tannehill works out his rookie kinks. Both teams have been stout against the run, so the decider here may be the play of Kolb. Kolb has posted a passer rating of more than 100 and has yet to throw an interception in his two starts.
Prediction: Cardinals 27, Dolphins 17

Sam's take:

The Cardinals are for real. And the Dolphins are not … yet. I do think the Dolphins will handle the Cards better than expected, primarily because they no longer have the advantage of surprising their opponents as they seemed to do in the first three weeks. But they are one of a few undefeated teams left in the young season and will move onto next week undefeated, too.
Prediction: Cardinals 28, Dolphins 17