Miami Dolphins: What the 'Fins Must Do in Week 9 to Beat the Indianapolis Colts
Currently on a nice three-game winning streak, the Dolphins will travel to Lucas Oil Stadium and take on Andrew Luck and the surging Indianapolis Colts (4-3). Miami needs a win in order to gain a share of the AFC East lead with the New England Patriots, who have a bye this week.
On paper, the Colts are a pass-heavy offense. The recent emergence of a running game for Indy should not worry the Dolphins in the slightest. Colts RB Vick Ballard will have a hard time generating any sort of push against the strong Dolphin defensive line.
However, this week the Dolphins are not facing a turnover-prone Mark Sanchez. Andrew Luck is a rapidly maturing NFL quarterback who has the ability and the receivers to pick a secondary apart. Given that lesser quarterbacks have had field days against Miami's secondary, Luck might be primed for a huge yardage day.
So, Reshad Jones, who has stepped up as the clear star of the secondary, will have to take on a serious leadership role this weekend to thwart Luck as much as possible. It seems likely that the Colts will try to take this game through the air.
Therefore, Miami's defensive line must get constant pressure on Luck, rush him throughout the afternoon. If he feels comfortable in the pocket, he will pick out open receivers. But if Cameron Wake and Co. can sack or just hurry Luck, the rookie quarterback will be more prone to making mistakes, which Miami then must capitalize on.
On the offensive side of the ball, Miami should go with same approach it used to beat the Jets. The Colts defense is far from extraordinary, and Miami should have no problem running the ball and passing efficiently.
Though there is no structural damage in his knee, Ryan Tannehill's status for this week is still up in the air (via Yahoo! Sports); it will be interesting to see whether he starts under center. Even if Miami decides to go with Matt Moore, the Dolphins should feel confident in their ability to throw the football against the Colts.
And if all goes according to plan, the Miami Dolphins will sit proudly at 5-3.
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