Written by Chad Hahn
This Sunday the Miami Dolphins (2-9) play host to the visiting Philadelphia Eagles (5-6). As playoff races are becoming clear, and on who’s the real contenders and pretenders in the NFL, this game means a lot for the visiting Eagles as a win means they are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East with four games left in the regular season.
As for the Miami Dolphins and their fans, the only thing they have left to look forward to is on the field growth from the players and in the booth and the sidelines growth from the coaching staff and ultimately looking forward to the off-season where the Dolphins will have big-time changes throughout the roster, including a projected 14 draft picks and nearly $110 million in salary-cap space.
As for the game itself, I expect Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz to try to pick on the secondary of the Dolphins just like the Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield last week. Although Wentz’s season hasn’t gone the way he’d hoped the Dolphins defense might be exactly what the doctor ordered this week as he expects a healthy Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and tight and Zach Ertz. In addition, not to start the rumor mill but the Eagles also have one open roster spot where there have been rumors of a potential agreement with free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown to fill that void.
It will be a game-time decision to see if the Eagles get their starting running back Jordan Howard back from injury but if not I do expect a decent workload from rookie running back Miles Sanders and former Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi.
As for the Dolphins, they will have to rely on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and his growing chemistry with a wide receiver Devante Parker if they’re going to have any shot at winning this football game. In addition, the Dolphins must have improved play from the offense of line and running back Kalen Ballage as he gets yet another start in this week’s game. Statistically, Ballage has been terrible still averaging 1.9 yards per carry on the season and has clearly been outplayed by running back Patrick Laird and seventh-round running back Myles Gaskin.
Look for added playing time and usage from Tight End Mike Gesicki who caught his first career touchdown pass last week versus the Cleveland Browns and wide receiver Allen Hurns now that both wide receivers Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant will be out due to injuries. As wide receiver Jakeem Grant was placed on injured reserve earlier this week the Dolphins promoted wide receiver Isaiah Ford to the 53 man roster.
Although I give the coaching staff of the Dolphins including head coach Brian Flores a lot of credit for this season the team is just simply out talented and as far as my prediction is concerned, I believe the Eagles win by at least two touchdowns. The only way I see the Dolphins pulling the upset is they would have to have a concerted effort from all three phases of the game and rely on the Eagles mistakes as they would have to win the turnover battle, limit penalties, have excellent offensive line play, and get pressure on Carson Wentz.