Rookie Russell Wilson vs rookie Ryan Tannehill (article on Tanny potentially hitting rookie wall is HERE) . We understand why this will get a lot of play, but I think the place to start in this game is the guys in the trenches trying to protect these 2 rookies.
Breno Giacomini has struggled in 2012. He will take on Jared Orick who has just 2 sacks this season, and none in the past 5 games. A big part of Miami’s recent struggles with their 3rd down defense is their inability to create a consistent pass rush and their inability to drop the opposing QB. Odrick gives them their best chance this week.
Cameron Wake has been the only ‘Phin who has been consistent with his ability to disrupt an opposing QB. He faces Russell Okung. The bad news is Okung has allowed zero sacks so far in 2012. The good news is he leads the offense with the most penalties (11). Wake is being held on many plays, but the refs are (inexplicably) not calling the penalties. Wake vs Okung may not produce any sacks, but it should create a few 10 yard deficits through penalties.
Miami has lost 3 straight, while Seattle has won 2 in a row. Both of Seattle’s wins were at home. On the road they have struggled quite a bit going just 1-4 away from their 12th man. Wilson in particular has struggled away from home. 11 TDs and 0 INTs in Seattle, but just 4 TDs and 8 INTs on the road. Miami’s declining attendance hardily offers a worrisome environment for opposing QBs (article on Miami’s plummeting attendance is HERE).
Wilson faces a secondary that has been getting torched, especially on 3rd down, but Seattle does not have an offense that will make Miami pay for that. Seattle is converting just 33 of their 3rd downs (26th in NFL). Wilson has his most success on 1st down because that down can be a run or a pass and teams are playing the run.
I would too when you consider their RB is Marshawn Lynch. While Wilson has excelled at home, Lynch has excelled on the road where he averages 5.3 yards per carry. 4 of his 5 TDs have come on 1st down so we see the ‘Hawks can produce on 1st down on the ground or in the air. Miami’s best chance vs Lynch is to get big games from Paul Soliai and Randy Starks. They will face Seattle’s C Max Unger who is an excellent run blocker. Miami has been losing games on 3rd down lately, but in this one I think Kevin Coyle will have tricks up his sleeve and emphasis on 1st down.
Only a small handful of teams sack the opposing QB more than the Seahawks. Their defensive line is deep and talented, that is where the pressure is coming from. This is a plus for Seattle because that will mean they do not have to send blitzers at Tannehill in order to generate pressure. Tannehill has struggled big-time in his rookie season, but he has been killing blitzes.
Seattle has yielded just 5 rushing TDs so far in 2012. That is bad news for a Dolphins run game that has only been better than the Jacksonville Jaguars for the past 2 months. Since week 3 Miami is getting a measly 69 yards per game on the ground (their 2.8 yards per carry since week 3 is the worst in the NFL). Reggie Bush is getting just 40 yards per game since week 3 (for article on Bush and his impending free-agency click HERE).
Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson have each had massive games vs the Seahawks this season…but…they have massive games against everyone. All other RBs have been dominated by the Seahawks in 2012.
Tannehill will be looking for Brian Hartline, and he will be covered by Richard Sherman which is a tough match-up for Miami. The other Seahawks CB is Brandon Browner. Both of these guys go at least 6’3″ and both are skilled. For a Dolphins pass game that is not producing legit points this D is not the cure for what ails them. Miami has scored a putrid 13 points via their offense in their last 8 quarters (yikes). 1 offensive TD in their last 8 quarters (yikes II). 7 turnovers in their last 8 quarters (yikes III).
Despite Seattle’s bad road play I just do not see any home advantage these days for Miami. Lynch is normally the type of power-RB that Miami shuts down, but the rush-D is struggling all around these days. Seattle is currently the #6 seed in the NFC, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, and New Orleans Saints are all right there. After this game Seattle has games left with all 3 NFC West foes, plus at Buffalo Bills and at Chicago Bears. Tough finish which makes this a must win game for Pete Carroll and his crew.
If Miami was playing well I would still think this is a tough game, but their recent play has been terrible and I can imagine that Dolfans are worried about this game. If Miami is going to avoid a 2nd straight double-digit loss season then they need this game. Miami still has the San Francisco 49ers on their schedule, plus the New England Patriots twice.
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