Who: St. Louis Rams (3-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-3)
Where: Sun Life Stadium in Miami, FL
When: Sunday, October 14th at 1:00 P.M. EST
Last Week: St. Louis defeated the Arizona Cardinals 17-3; the Miami Dolphins held off Cincinnati 17-13.
Both the St. Louis Rams and Miami Dolphins are coming off big wins as they are set to meet on Sunday. St. Louis handed the Arizona Cardinals their first loss of 2012 on Thursday night in St. Louis while the Dolphins were able to bounce back from consecutive overtime losses and knock the Cincinnati Bengals out of first place. Miami will be looking to even its record at 3-3 while the Rams, who have been a pleasant surprise, have a chance to go to 4-2. All three of St. Louis’ prior three victories however, have come at home. With a bye week followed by two road games, Sunday will be the last home game for Miami until November 11th.
At 2-3, the Miami Dolphins are in a three-way tie for second place in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. Miami is just a game back of the first place New England Patriots. St. Louis is 3-2 and in third place in the NFC West. The Rams trail both the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals by one game in the division. Miami won the last meeting between the teams back in 2008 as the Dolphins topped the Rams 16-12 in St. Louis. The last meeting in Miami came in 2004 with the Dolphins winning that contest 31-14. The last Rams’ victory in the series came in 2001 in St. Louis; Miami has won eight of the last nine in the series. The Rams have not won in Miami since 1976 when they were the Los Angeles Rams.
Keys to a ‘Fins Win
Early on last Sunday, it looked like more of the same as two Miami Dolphin turnovers led to two Mike Nugent field goals for the Cincinnati Bengals. But the Dolphins took care of the ball for the rest of the game and actually won the turnover battle in a 17-13 win. Not turning the ball over will go a long way again on Sunday. In losses this season, the Dolphins are -6 in turnover margin compared to a +2 margin in Miami’s two wins. Also, 47 of the 103 points allowed this season by Miami have come off Dolphins’ turnovers. Defensively, the Dolphins have been solid this season, but too many short fields for opponents have been a real problem for the ‘Fins.
Reggie Bush and the Miami ground game got off to a great start this season, but over the past two weeks, it has stalled. Last week, Miami averaged less than two yards-per-carry in their win over the Bengals. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was efficient and made good decisions with the football, but the Dolphins are a much better offense when they have balance. St. Louis is giving up just under 19 points-per-game which is 9th best in the NFL. Look for Miami to use misdirection a little more with Bush and try to hit bigger plays in the running game. St. Louis is also 6th in the NFL in sacks, so being able to run the ball would also set up play action for Tannehill, the NFL’s leading receiver Brian Hartline, and the rest of the Miami passing attack.
Get Pressure on Bradford
The Miami Dolphins are tied for sixth in the NFL with 15 sacks on the season, but 11 of those have come in the past two weeks. Cameron Wake has been on a tear the last two weeks rushing from the outside while the interior of the defensive front, Paul Soliai and Randy Starks, have also provided penetration. The Rams have one of the worst offenses in the NFL and are 30th when it comes to throwing the football. Miami is tops in the NFL in rushing defense, but has allowed big plays in the passing game. If the Dolphins can get to St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford on Sunday, Miami will have a very good chance of evening its record at 3-3.
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