The Arizona Cardinals (3-0) will host the Miami Dolphins (1-2) in week 4 of the NFL season. The Cardinals have surprised every team they have beat this year and will look to go 4-0 on Sunday. Hopefully, the Cardinals will continue to take this season one game at a time and not look past the Dolphins. The greatest teams do it all the time, but a loss this week would be devastating to the fan base and the players.
A win this week could move the Cardinals into the top three, but a loss would drop them out of the top 5 in the NFL power rankings for sure. The Dolphins only win comes from the Oakland Raiders in week two. However, last week they played a very tough New York Jets team and took them into overtime in a loss.
The Dolphins start rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill though. In week one the Cardinals were all over Seattle Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson and most NFL analysts are calling him the second best quarterback in his class. Tannehill is having some rookie growing pains, but he has a lot more pressure on him than Wilson. The Seahawks are a better teams as a whole. The Cardinals will be a tough test for the young QB, so lets take a look at the probable starting line ups and highlight three key players from each team.
Quarterback: Kevin Kolb
Running back: Ryan Williams
Fullback: Anthony Sherman
Wide Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts
Tight end: Jeff King
Offensive Line (from the left): D’Anthony Batiste, Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, Adam Snyder, Bobbie Massie
Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill
Running back: Reggie Bush
Fullback: Jorvorskie Lane
Wide Receiver: Legaedue Naanee, Devone Best
Tight end: Anthony Fasano
Offensive Line: Jake Long, Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey, John Jerry, Jonathan Martin
Cardinals Defense (Base 3-4)
Defensive Line: DE Calais Campbell, DT Dan Williams, DE Darnell Dockett
Linebackers: OLB O’Brien Schofield, MLB Daryl Washington, MLB Paris Lenon, OLB Sam Acho
Secondary: CB Patrick Peterson, CB William Gay, SS Adrian Wilson, FS Kerry Rhodes
Dolphins’ Defense (Base 4-3)
Defensive Line: DE Jared Odrick, DT Randy Starks, DT Paul Soliai, DE Cameron Wake
Linebackers: WLB Kevin Burnett, MLB Karlos Dansby, SLB Koa Misi
Secondary: CB Sean Smith, CB Richard Marshall, SS Reshad Jones, FS Chris Clemons
Cardinals’ Key Players
First, Ryan Williams will get the majority of the snaps this week. Beanie wells was placed on the IR earlier this week and will be out til November 25th. Williams is one of my key players because the Cardinals are going to try to run the ball hard this week against a lesser opponent. Running the ball gives the Cardinals less chances to turn the ball over. The Cardinals have been very good at keeping the ball for the first few weeks of the season.
Second, for the last two weeks of the season I have been giving Patrick Peterson the nod. This week I will give it to a different member of the secondary, Kerry Rhodes. Rhodes says this defense is good, but not great. He says they have a chance to be great though. Rhodes wants to prove himself right, so look for him to do a little “head hunting” this week. He will be looking to put the smack down, legally of course, on any receiver that comes into his zone.
Finally, Defensive end Darnell Dockett should be ready to go this week, but whether or not he is 100 percent he is still a leader on this team. Dockett may not be as productive this week, but if the Cardinals get down early I would look to Dockett to get his team fired up.
Dolphin’s Key Players
Earlier in the week, Reggie Bush tweeted that he was going to play with coaches approval. He may be okay, but if you think he will dominate with a hurt knee you have got to be crazy. Bush will stay in the atmosphere this week in terms of on field production. He is still a key player because he takes a lot of the heat of Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill.
Next, we have the rookie himself. Tannehill will have to have the game of his NFL career to win this game and that’s what makes him a key player. “The game of his NFL career” is not saying much. Tannehill has just one touchdown through the air to go along with his four interceptions.
Finally, I was going to go to defense, but the Miami Dolphins are matched up against one of the best defenses in the league, so to win this game they are going to have to have some firepower. To get to that point you have to have blocking. So, the final key player for the Dolphins will be left tackle Jake Long. Long will have to keep the “birdgang” at bay, so the rookie will have his chance to run the offense without having to think about the 300 pounds of man coming at him from the left side.
There you have it. Three players from each team that could make or break this matchup. Each team has their advantages, but overall the Cardinals are a better football team. Arizona may not be as good as their undefeated record shows, but bad news for Dolphins, the only game they are going to win this week is the contest between which team has the sweetest names.
Prediction: Arizona 34, Dophins 17