Through two months, the Miami Dolphins seemingly had the worst start to any NFL season ever. A humiliating 0-7 first two months, they had everyone pointing to next April.
But wait … they’ve now won two in a row. And, not just covering the spread in the best sportsbooks, but outright victories? First, it was against Sam Darnold and the New York Jets, and then, last Sunday against a Luck-less, Brissett-less Indianapolis Colts. So, it appears that No. 1 overall draft pick is a thing of the past.
It’s hard to fathom that the Fins were intentionally flopping for the first six or seven games. It takes the coaching staff and management mismanaging games to a sever degree to make it work, because the players are competitive. And, now, Miami is beginning to see that competitiveness the last three weeks.
Starting with the Pittsburgh Monday night game and especially Sunday, you can see the effort with players giving their all and managing to get a couple of wins.
The victory against the Jets was a disaster for the “tank.” It was the one win the Dolphins absolutely should not have gotten if they wanted the No. 1 pick … and now we see headlines like, ‘The Dolphins are Failing at Failing.”
And that brings us to Sunday and game against a division foe. The Bills, fighting for a wild card berth. are up next at Hard Rock Stadium and, don’t laugh, Miami is looking straight at a win streak Sunday.
So, Let’s look more at the matchup:
Miami’s offense is still the No. 31 ranked in the league … but over the last four games, their horrendous 13.22 points overall per game has increased to 19.25. This is dangerously close to the Buffalo Bills average score per game of 19.33. The Bills actually only put up 18.75 on the road. And, the Fins put up 26 in their last home game, and 16 in the one before that, bringing their recent home average to 21 per game (instead of the 12 points per game on the season).
If the Dolphins want to get to three in a row, they are going to have to get their penalty yards down. They rank No. 1 in the league for penalties. Despite the two wins, the Fins ranks at the bottom of pretty much every season-long NFL stat that exists … which is why the Bills opened as touchdown favorites. However, the public seems to think the Dolphins have a bit more “Fitzmagic” in them and the line has already been bet down to +6.
The Bills continue to play strong, defensive-minded football. But on the offensive side of the ball, they just can’t seem to put together four full quarters of clean, fundamental football. Josh Allen continues his herky-jerky play and is too inconsistent to put points up on a regular basis. This means that if the Dolphins can put up some points, they have a legit shot at winning – at least covering the point spread.
The guess is the Bills defense is too good for the Fins to have another 26-point home game. And, the Bills offense is too bad for them to score more than 20 Miami. This game has UNDER written all over it in big, bold, black marker. The Total is set pretty low because of this, but you can find the number now at 41 points.
If the Bills win, it will be because they completely shut down the Dolphins offense, So, we could see a 20 to 6 type affair. Then, again, Miami has momentum, they’re at home and a streak is within sight.
Stafford trade rumor reminder Dolphins better be ready to trade up
On Thursday morning a report surfaced that the Lions, who are currently slated to pick third in April’s NFL Draft, were actively looking to trade former Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Stafford. And, while that report has now been debunked, for teams like the Dolphins sitting in the fifth Spot, this is reminder of their reality of what could happen if someone jumps in front of them, in particular for a QB.
First, the report surfaced late Wednesday night from a local Detroit TV station that their sports reporter/anchor had learned that the Lions were looking for a trade partner for the 11-year veteran Stafford:
Sources: Lions in trade talks to deal Matthew Stafford https://t.co/1lH2yRxGZx
— Local 4 WDIV Detroit (@Local4News) February 13, 2020
That report was quickly squashed by lions GM Bob Quinn and numerous NFL media reporters and salary cap experts pointed out that Stafford’s cap hit would be a massive $32 million dollars, if he is traded or released this season.
So it’s not likely, no matter how bad the situation is with the Lions, the Stafford is going anywhere.
But, that doesn’t mean that the Redskins, who are picking second and the Giants were picking 4th after the Lions and obviously both before the Dolphins at five, aren’t going to also be in the market to listen to trade offers for their picks.
This is, because Washington seems to be committed, for now with a new head coach and Ron Rivera, to last year’s first round quarterback pick, Dwayne Haskins
And likewise, the Giants have obviously made a commitment to their number one pick up last year, Daniel Jones. This after 2 time Super Bowl winning veteran quarterback Eli Manning announced his retirement, recently.
So, both NFC East teams appear to be targets, if a team (including the Dolphins) would look to try to increase their draft position.
This is in particular if that team were interested in the second best quarterback available in the draft, which is likely Alabama Tua Tagovailoa.
As was reported earlier this week, Tagovailoa is on schedule to heal from a fractured hip suffered last November in Alabama’s game with Mississippi State. While Tua won workout at the NFL combine later this month, it’s believed that he would likely work out for teams Alabama facility later in March or April.
One final factor in favor of the Dolphins and GM Chris Grier: they have some trade capital, including extra first-round pick this year and next year, with which the potentially move up if they so desire.
It’s all part of the evaluation process and then, the drama of what the teams at the top of the first round will look to do later this Spring.
Positive hip injury update for Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa
Another positive update for prospective top five draft pick, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, has to have not only him encouraged him, but also teams like the Miami Dolphins even more interested in his status, too.
First, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport relayed Monday afternoon the Tagovailoa’s fractured hip suffered last November has apparently fully healed passing a huge milestone in his offseason recovery from the injury:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 10, 2020
Tagovailoa was one of over 300 players invited last week to the NFL Scouting Combine coming to Indianapolis at the end of this month. However, it was always understood that due to the injury, he was never expected to participate in any of the physical activities during those workouts.
Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering the hip injury on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and then, their Citrus Bowl win January 1st, over Michigan
He came to Alabama from Hawaii and the same high school as Marcus Mariota, having thrown for over 8,000 yards which at that time was a Hawaii High School record. And, he had a career of 84 passing and 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.
Tua burst onto the scene nationally, when he relieved Jalen Hurts in the second half and overtime of Alabama’s thrilling title game win over Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first overtime possession, as Alabama celebrated their fifth National Title in nine seasons under Saban.
In his second season at the helm in the 2018 regular season, Tagovailoa was named second-team AP All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, as the Tide reached the National Title game, again, before being beaten soundly by Clemson 12 months ago.
As this junior season unfolded, Tagovailoa was named almost became synonymous with the Dolphins, who started the season horribly at 0 – 7 and the moniker “Tank for Tua” began to gain momentum in South Florida.
He will be available to meet with teams in Inday and especially those who are looking to select in the top five in the draft and #5 currently, is Miami.
It is expected that Tagovailoa will work out for teams probably later in March or maybe even April at the Tide’s facility in Tuscaloosa, prior to the NFL draft coming to Las Vegas.
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