Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gameday Deciding Factors: Dolphins at Colts


The Miami Dolphins (4-3) are riding a three game winning streak going into this Sunday's road contest with the Indianapolis Colts (4-3).

In what was supposed to be, according to most preseason prognosticators, two struggling teams facing off midway through the season has now become one of the premier matchups of the week with implications in the developing AFC playoff picture.

Play smart on defense. Not much confuses Luck, who has been described by multiple opponents as a rookie that plays like a seasoned veteran. It will be imperative that Miami generates pressure while covering Luck's arsenal of targets. The Dolphins have the personnel to do this but will need to execute like last week.

Run the rock. Indianapolis has struggled at times with it's transition to the 3-4 defensive scheme, especially against the run. This is a weakness that Miami must attack, both to move its own offense and to run the clock, so that the dynamic Luck has fewer possessions to work with. The one-two punch of Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas, running behind a powerful offensive line, will be key in guiding Miami to a victory.

Turnovers. During their three-game winning streak, the Dolphins have shown an improved ability to overcome their mistakes. But in a hostile Lucas Oil Stadium, the Dolphins must avoid turning the ball over to an opportunistic Colts offense. The Dolphins have 10 turnovers in their three losses and just three giveaways in their four victories.

Life as a frontrunner. For the first time in a long time, the Dolphins have a winning record and are a favored team. At times, this group of players has thrived off of its underdog designation but will now have to stay balanced as it gets more respect from opponents. This trait will come from coaching and player leadership, two areas that qualify as strengths in Miami.
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