The Miami Dolphins travel to the University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday to take on the Arizona Cardinals in a game that no one outside of these two organizations had any interest in at the start of the season.
But with Dolphins running back Reggie Bush carrying his success over from last season and the Cardinals at an unexpected 3-0, this game suddenly has pizzazz.
The Dolphins come in with the fourth best rushing offense in the NFL, averaging 175.7 yards per game. But it is their passing offense and defense (22nd in the league and 29th against the pass) that is preventing the team from competing on a consistent basis.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has shown glimpses of why Miami liked him so much to use a first-round pick on him, but it is obvious that he is a rookie and lacks the weapons around him to overcome that.
Here is one bold prediction for each team in Sunday’s matchup:
Dolphins Held to Less than 200 Yards of Total Offense, Shutout in Loss
Though Bush is confident that he will be able to play Sunday after injuring his knee in last week’s 23-20 loss to the New York Jets, his presence won’t be enough to overcome a strong Arizona defense. And if he is unavailable or ineffective at all, the Dolphins will be in for an even longer afternoon.
Tannehill doesn’t have the experience or the weapons to shoulder the offense, especially against a defense that is only giving up 316 yards and 13.3 points per game. And it’s not like the Cardinals haven’t faced good offenses—this defense is legit.
While Arizona might not be able to run up the score, Miami will be scrambling all game to find ways to keep up—even if only down by a narrow margin.
Kevin Kolb Throws for 300 Yards and 3 Touchdowns
The Cardinals offense is rather lacking, averaging only 262.3 yards per game. But Kolb has been efficient enough to capitalize on the few scoring chances and the team sits at 3-0. When a team’s calling card is its defense, the name of the game is protecting the ball—especially against good teams.
However, Sunday’s game brings the Dolphins to town. And although head coach Ken Whisenhunt has given Kolb his vote of confidence in remaining the team’s starter when John Skelton returns from injury, Kolb will need to continue to prove he can lead this team.
What better game to post great numbers than against a Dolphins defense that is giving up 307.3 yards through the air through the first three weeks?
With a depleted backfield and Larry Fitzgerald to rely on, Kolb should use this game as an opportunity to pad some stats a little.