Miami Dolphins: How the 'Phins Can Get to Double-Digit Wins

Devin Noonan@@devinnoonanCorrespondent IIIOctober 11, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 07:  Quarterback Ryan Tennehill, #17 of the Miami Dolphins, looks on between left guard Richie Incognito, #68 and left tackle Jake Long, #77, before the start of a play against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins rolled in to Cincinnati last Sunday and shut down the Bengals on the road to earning their second victory of the season.

After watching the first five weeks of play, the 2-3 Dolphins could have very easily been sitting atop the AFC East with a 4-1 record right now.

Two close overtime losses due to missed field goals set them back, but there's still plenty of games left to make an unexpected playoff run.

This week, they head home to Sun Life Stadium to take on the St. Louis Rams as they attempt to reach the coveted .500 mark.

The expectations of most fans at the beginning of this season placed the Dolphins as a 4-6 win, run-of-the-mill team, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hopeful for a better finish than that.

With the league looking as competitive as ever, a few things are going to need to occur for the Dolphins to reach the playoffs.

Realistically, that may mean reaching the double-digit mark in wins, and a few things will need to occur in order for that to happen.

Take Care of the "Easy" Matchups

If you look at the Dolphins' remaining schedule, they do have some easier opponents in the mix.

For starters, their next five games are against the Rams, Jets, Colts, Titans and Bills.

These games provide the Dolphins with a real chance to get some serious momentum going.

Taking care of business against these weaker opponents will also allow some room for error as they come down the home stretch and play some of the better teams in the league.

By "better teams," I'm referring to the stretch from Week 12-14 where the 'Phins square off against the Seahawks, 49ers and Patriots.

It's not hard to envision the Dolphins losing each one of those matchups, but pulling off even one win out of the three would put them right in the hunt for a playoff spot and right in the mix for a 10-win season.

After that, the 'Phins have two more very winnable games against the Jaguars and the Bills before heading to Foxboro for the final game of the season in a Week 17 showdown with the Patriots.

The Jags and Bills are both very beatable, and if the Dolphins enter the last week of the season with 10 victories under their belt, their game against the Patriots may be a lot more meaningful then anyone could have ever anticipated.

Tannehill's Development and Leadership

If you're a true Dolphins fan, then you must be just as excited as I am with what we've seen out of Tannehill thus far.

It's been quite some time since 'Phinatics have had any sort of hope coming from the quarterback position, and Tannehill's confidence and talent have given us more than enough reason to think that we have a team that can actually contend.

The best thing that Ryan Tannehill can do, or that any quarterback can do for that matter, is put their team in a position to win.

By making smart decisions with the ball and minimizing turnovers, the Dolphins should find themselves with a real opportunity to win the majority of their remaining games.

Improved Secondary Performance

The Dolphins front line has already proven to be a formidable foe for defenses.

Their ability to stop the run has been impeccable up to this point, but when you've got a defense that is so stellar against the run, teams are bound to look to the air.

Kevin Coyle, who is a defensive backs specialist, needs to keep working with this Dolphins secondary to really button down the hatches and start taking away some of the big plays through the air.

I'm not expecting the secondary to evolve over night and suddenly look like one of the league's top pass defenses, but I do expect to see some sort of improvement as we move deeper into the season.

Healthy Reggie Bush

Bush showed us all last season that he is more than capable of being a high caliber, every-down back.

When that man is on the field, he forces opposing defenses to base their game plan around him.

A healthy Bush means less focus on rookie Ryan Tannehill and the passing game, and more focus on stopping Reggie from busting out that big run.

This will ease the pressure on Tannehill, open up the play action, and allow the Dolphins air attack to really develop as the season progresses.

Expect to see the Dolphins utilize more of the West Coast Style of play as they continue to get more comfortable with Tannehill, and expect their passing attack to compliment the likes of their star running back.


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