NFL Week 2: Dolphins vs. Colts Preview and Prediction

By Eric Smith
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts host the Miami Dolphins Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium for a Week 2 matchup. It’s a rare back-to-back homestand to start the season for Indianapolis and rare two road games for Miami, as the Colts hosted the Oakland Raiders last weekend in a 21-17 victory while the Dolphins played at the Cleveland Browns in their 23-10 win.

Both teams enter 1-0 and have high hopes in year two under their young quarterbacks.

Last year, the Colts beat the Dolphins 23-20 in Week 9, which helped them to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. This year’s matchup should be very similar as both teams have playoff aspirations and this game could come back to haunt the loser in December. Expect this game to be close like last year and the difference again coming down to who can protect their quarterback the best and who can limit turnovers.

Last week, the Colts committed only three penalties for the entire game, had zero turnovers and forced two interceptions of their own. The Dolphins, on the other hand, had one turnover, 10 penalties and picked off Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden three times and sacked him five times.

The Colts’ offensive line needs to protect Andrew Luck a lot better in this game with Miami having a very good pass rush led by Cameron Wake, who had 2.5 sacks last week. They also have to keep an eye on Randy Starks and rookie Dion Jordan as well. The line gave up four sacks on Luck Sunday against Oakland, and that needs to improve if they want to have any chance on Sunday.

If Luck can get protection, he will thrive against Miami. He had 433 yards passing and two touchdowns last year against the Dolphins. They also had a solid outing on the ground with Vick Ballard rushing 16 times for 60 yards, and Delone Carter eight times for 31 yards. If they can give him time, Indianapolis will light it up through the air and use the run to keep it balanced.

On the other side of the ball, Ryan Tannehill threw for 290 yards on 22-of-38 passing. He only had one touchdown last year and only had one last week against Cleveland. The rushing attack was very limited against Indy last year and was very bad in Week 1 this year.

Daniel Thomas led Miami in rushing last week with 14 yards and a touchdown on eight attempts. Lamar Miller was second with three yards on 10 attempts. Last year, Reggie Bush was the leading rusher against the Colts as he only had 41 yards and a touchdown on 10 attempts.

If the Colts can stop the running backs like they did against Oakland last Sunday and get solid production out of the secondary, they should win this game. The lack of a running game by Miami and the ability of the Colts to stop the rush attack could be the difference, especially with them finally having playmakers in the secondary.

Some people will say the defense is a liability due to them letting Raiders quarterback Terrell Pryor run for 112 yards on them, but Tannehill isn’t a scrambler like Pryor. He only rushed five times out of the pocket last week for three yards, and ran once for -1 yards last year in Indianapolis.

If the Colts can get the pressure they were bringing last week against Oakland on Sunday, they will be able to sack Tannehill a lot more since he doesn’t have the ability to get away.

Prediction: Indianapolis 27 — Miami 20

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