In a battle of rookie quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins (4-3) will head to Lucas Oil Stadium to square of with Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts (4-3) with more than just first-year signal callers bragging rights on the line – both teams could be in the postseason hunt later this season. Both teams enter this game riding the momentum of victories last week, with the Dolphins destroying the New York Jets by a score of 30-9. and the Colts edged out the Tennessee Titans in overtime 19-13.
Miami has been a big-time surprise this season, especially when you factor in that their offense isn’t that potent. The Dolphin offense is ranked 23rd in total offensive yards gained per game (327.9 yards), 22nd in passing yards gained per game (212 yards), 11th in rushing yards gained per game (115.9 yards) and 19th in points scored per game (21.4 points). while their defense is ranked 22nd in total offensive yards allowed per game (363 yards), 27th in passing yards allowed per game (281 yards), second in rushing yards allowed per game (82 yards) and fifth in points allowed per game (18 points).
Tannehill is having a solid season for a rookie quarterback, passing for 1,472 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 59.1% of his pass attempts. Tannehill’s main targets this season have been Brian Hartline (33 receptions for 55 yards and a TD), Davone Bess (32 receptions for 416 yards) and Anthony Fasano (23 receptions for 180 yards and 3 TD), and he will be looking in these guys’ direction in order to move this offense down field. Reggie Bush (112 carries for 493 yards and three TD plus 18 receptions for 146 yards) has also been a key part of the Miami offense, and he will need to have a huge game for them against an Indy defense that isn’t very good at stopping the run. The Dolphins stout defense will rely heavily on the play of Cameron Wake (7.5 sacks tied for fourth in NFL), Randy Starks (3.5 sacks and an interceptions) and Karlos Dansby (54 tackles) to maintain what ever type of offense rhythm the Colts attempt to get into.
The Colts offense is ranked eighth in total offensive yards gained per game (373 yards), ninth in passing yards gained per game (265.9 yards), 17th in rushing yards gained per game (107.1 yards) and 24th in points scored per game (19.4 points), while their defense is ranked 19th in total offensive yards allowed per game (350.4 yards), seventh in passing allowed per game (213 yards), 27th in rushing yards allowed per game (137.4 yards) and 22nd in points allowed per game (24.4 points).
Luck is having a terrific first year behind center for the Colts, passing for 1,971 yards (10th in NFL), eight touchdowns, eight interceptions and completing 55.6% of his attempts while also rushing for 143 yards and three scores on 26 carries. Luck has relied plenty on the play of veteran wideout Reggie Wayne to make several plays for him both in short yardage situations and big plays down field. This season, Wayne leads the NFL in receiving yards with 757, and is third in receptions with 54 while also making two trips to the endzone. Donald Brown (74 carries for 319 yards and a TD) must get the running game going this week somehow against a very solid Miami run defense. The Colts defense will have to play much better this week against a Miami team that can pound the ball on the ground. It will be up to the Indy front seven including Robert Mathis, Jerry Hughes and Jerrell Freeman to do exactly that.
This game will come down to the running game; whichever team can be successful running the ball consistently should be the team who is going to emerge victorious at the conclusion. With that being said I have much more confidence in the Dolphins running game than I do in the Colts ground game. I’ll take Miami 23-17.