Miami Dolphins vs. Dallas Cowboys: 5 Reasons Miami Will Prevail on Thanksgiving
It's a tradition seen usually every six to eight years.
This season, it's no different.
Miami goes into their Thanksgiving Day game against Dallas with a record of 3-7, but the three wins have been the most impressive part because of how they've done it—tough defense and an efficient offense.
Dallas goes in at 6-4 coming off of an overtime thriller against a Washington Redskins team that Miami defeated 20-9 only a week earlier.
There—that's all I have to really mention to tell you why the Miami Dolphins will defeat the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. Thank you for reading.
Alright, obviously there are more reasons that I must mention to back up my claim. Right now the Dallas Cowboys are six-point favorites over the Dolphins, which is a bit too much at this point based off of how the Dolphins have played.
So here are five legitimate reasons why the Dolphins can leave Jerry World with a victory.
DeMarco Murray Has Been Great, but Miami Can Stop the Run
Not talked about much in the NFL's Rookie Of The Year race is Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray.
The rookie from Oklahoma has thus far averaged six yards per carry in his 125 attempts, and as the season drags on for Dallas, he will be used a lot more.
But in comes Miami's rushing defense, currently ranked seventh in the NFL and allowing just 3.7 yards per carry.
Ask Fred Jackson how that went going against Miami's defense.
I know his numbers partially reflect the Dolphins jumping ahead big early in the game against Buffalo, but running the ball seven times for 17 yards is as quiet as quiet can get.
Miami can stop DeMarco Murray, and if they succeed in that mission, their road to a Thanksgiving Day victory will become that much more clear.
Tony Romo Is Still Tony Romo
Tony Romo's 2011 season has been a roller coaster.
After the first game of the season, he was heavily criticized for costing the Cowboys a victory against the Jets.
This was followed by Romo being lauded for his courageous efforts with broken ribs against the 49ers and Redskins.
Then came the debacle against Detroit, where he appeared to lose his head coach's trust, as evidenced by the fourth quarter in their following game against New England, when Romo wasn't allowed to do anything.
Romo was able to "get right" against a terrible St. Louis team before completely falling apart the week after against Philadelphia.
But that was followed by three straight good games (and Cowboys victories) against Seattle, Buffalo and Washington.
Based off of how the season goes, we're due for another Romo stinker.
Why not this week? We'll ask Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell:
He's playing really good, he's doing the right thing, not turning the ball over, but you know we gotta speed it up, we gotta give him some different looks, he's a guy that will turn it over so we know that about him so we gotta just get him to make some bad reads and throw some bad balls.
Miami's defense in their last two games has shown they can force turnovers. Against Washington, the Dolphins forced two interceptions, then forced two more the following week against Buffalo.
The Dolphins defense is starting to click and starting to make plays, which is a scary thought for Romo and the Cowboys offense.
Matt Moore Has Been Fantastic
I'm still not completely sold on Matt Moore as Miami's quarterback of the future and still believe that the Dolphins should draft either Barkley or Robert Griffin III in the first round if either of those guys are available.
But man, has Moore been fantastic the last three games.
Did you know that Matt Moore had the No. 1 total QBR in the NFL last week?
Sure, it's not really a stat since only ESPN uses it and no one else other than the World Wide Leader acknowledges it—but it has to count for something, right?
On top of that, he has been efficient and has only turned the ball over once in the last three weeks.
Now here comes the Dallas defense, which looks like the Jets defense only with (I've removed the pot-shot at Rob Ryan that goes here because there's still a possibility that he might become the next head coach of the Miami Dolphins and I don't want to eat my words—and on top of that I actually wouldn't mind him coaching the Dolphins) Rob Ryan at the helm of Dallas' defense.
Dallas' defense has been stout, however they lean on the blitz just a little bit too much. Moore can handle a blitz better than I thought, and while it might take him about a quarter to get used to it, he will do just that.
Along with Moore's efficiency, also be on the lookout for...
Miami's Running Game
Reggie Bush is becoming an every-down back this season and has succeeded.
His success hasn't just been in running the ball, but he's done very well catching passes out of the backfield as well.
Daniel Thomas has looked solid this year as well and is getting into the flow of things.
It took a while, but offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has this offense humming, and it starts with the two running backs.
The Cowboys can boast the 11th-ranked rushing defense in the NFL, but teams tend to pass more against the Cowboys than they run on them.
Miami intends to run and use their running backs in screens (which are effective against the blitz) and delays (another blitz weapon), which has been their specialty the last few weeks.
An effective use of their running backs like in the last two weeks will be paramount for Miami to win in Dallas. Expect to see such an effective use.
Miami Has Nothing to Lose, Dallas Has Everything to Lose
This one falls under the whole "intangibles" argument.
Miami is 3-7, and even though the Jets and Bills have both fallen apart, only one team from the AFC East is likely to go to the playoffs, and it's the team that wins the division.
Miami is out of that race even though they're still slightly in the playoff race.
On top of that, Sparano is still as good as gone, but the team has practically no chance at Andrew Luck anymore.
Miami has absolutely nothing to lose.
This makes them dangerous, because now more than ever (and they've been doing this all season), they will go all-out to win.
In their last three games, this has worked. They pretty much started Kansas City's funk that knocked them out of contention, Washington just sucks but Miami took full advantage of that, then the Dolphins effectively ended the Bills' playoff chances.
That's what happens when you corner a wild cat with nothing to lose. And yes, they've unleashed the wild cat a couple of times.
Meanwhile Dallas is at 6-4 with two games left against the Giants, the team they're tied with atop of the NFC East. Since they are "America's Team" (when did we all vote and agree on this again?) a loss to Miami will mean that from the final play of the game on Thursday until Dallas' next game against Arizona 10 days later, they will be dissected and examined about 15 ways from Sunday.
If the Dolphins lose, however, well they were supposed to lose—they're a 3-7 team.
On the flip side, with a Cowboys win, well, they were supposed to beat the Dolphins—Miami is 3-7 and Dallas was at home.
You see who there's more pressure on? Remember, it's not like this team is great at handling pressure—look at who their quarterback is.
I'm convinced that because of that, and more importantly the other four reasons I listed before, that the Dolphins will leave Dallas with a close victory.
I'll even predict the score: Miami 27, Dallas 24.
Too bad it won't snow like in the video I posted on this slide. I'd love to see a Leon Lett sequel.