NFL Week 10 Dolphins vs. Buccaneers: 5 Must-Watch Matchups
Dolphins vs. Buccaneers: 5 Must-Watch Matchups
The Buccaneers have yet to win a game, but the Dolphins are the team that is currently taking the most heat from the media, and it has nothing to do with football.
A bullying scandal has captivated the country and put Miami's organization under severe scrutiny. While the story has nothing to do with what actually transpires on the field, it could have a big impact on how well or how poorly the Dolphins play for the duration of the season.
Controversy can do one of two things: It can bring a team together or tear it apart. And while we really have no idea how the Dolphins are handling this fiasco internally, their message to the media has presented a united front.
Whether you agree with their support of suspended teammate Richie Incognito or not, the Dolphins look to be an angry team that has taken on the "us versus the world" mentality.
Will that lead to quality play in the second half of the season and the franchise's first playoff berth since 2008? That remains to be seen, but they'll have to get through the Buccaneers first.
Tampa Bay is 0-8, but they have talented players on both sides of the ball and should be hungry to pick up their first win of the season on national television.
Let's break down five key matchups in this game.
Cody is a Miami Dolphins contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.
5. Mike Wallace vs. Darrelle Revis
After a slow start to the season in which Mike Wallace caught for 24 or less yards in three of his first four games, quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been able to connect with his No. 1 target more often as of late.
Although Wallace's production still hasn't been up to par given his $60 million contract, he's averaged a respectable 76 yards per game receiving in his past four outings. Wallace also had one of the plays of the game in Miami's Week 9 win, separating deep and drawing a pass-interference penalty that swung field-position in the Dolphins' favor in overtime.
Don't count on Tannehill and Wallace to continue developing their rapport in Week 10, though. Darrelle Revis, despite being asked to play more zone coverage with his new team, still grades out as the top cornerback in all of football according to Pro Football Focus.
Revis has only been targeted 30 times in eight games, and he's only conceded 16 catches totaling 116 yards. He should have his way with Wallace on Monday night, meaning Tannehill will likely have to rely on his other weapons to consistently move the ball through the air.
4. Cameron Wake vs. Demar Dotson
Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake is coming off of a dominating effort in Week 9 in which he sacked the quarterback three times, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and produced a walk-off safety in overtime.
Wake will face one of the league's best right tackles against the Buccaneers, however.
Demar Dotson is currently the sixth-rated offensive tackle in the entire NFL according to Pro Football Focus. He's allowed three sacks on the season, but only two additional quarterback hits.
Outside of Wake, the Dolphins don't have another consistent edge rusher, so they'll be counting on him to get after rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who has been sacked 13 times in five starts.
Defensive ends Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby have a negative pass rush grade according to Pro Football Focus, and although rookie Dion Jordan has been an effective rusher, he's only been on the field for a grand total of 169 defensive snaps this season.
3. Brent Grimes vs. Vincent Jackson
It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins choose to match up with Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who is currently 15th in the NFL in receiving yards.
Jackson will line up on both sides of the field and in the slot for Tampa Bay. Miami has allowed No. 1 cornerback Brent Grimes to shadow receivers in the past, but more often than not, it keeps him put on the left boundary.
Regardless, Jackson and Grimes should still see their fare share of battles. Jackson has a seven-inch height advantage on Grimes, which will make this a difficult matchup for Miami's undersized but feisty defensive back.
Grimes is the 10th-rated cornerback in the entire league according to Pro Football Focus. His solid coverage will be put to the test on Monday night.
2. Brian Hartline vs. Johnthan Banks
Miami's No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace will have a difficult matchup with Tampa Bay's Darrelle Revis, but its No. 2 receiver Brian Hartline will have an opportunistic one against a rookie cornerback.
Johnthan Banks was a second-round pick this past April for Tampa Bay, but on Monday night, he'll have the challenging task of slowing down Hartline, who is barely off pace for his second consecutive 1,000-yard season.
Banks has struggled this year for the Buccaneers. He currently grades as the league's 100th-rated cornerback out of 107 eligible players at his position according to Pro Football Focus. Banks has allowed 71.1 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed and he's given up two touchdowns.
Tannehill should look Hartline's way often on Monday night, especially considering that Revis should keep Wallace in check on the opposite side of the field.
1. Dolphins' Interior Offensive Line vs. Gerald McCoy
The Dolphins' mediocre offensive tackle combination likely won't be tested as much as they usually are against the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay doesn't have a defensive end who currently possess a positive pass rushing grade, according to Pro Football Focus.
The interior of its defensive line, however, is a force to be reckoned with. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is the top rated defensive tackle/nose tackle in the entire NFL according to Pro Football Focus.
McCoy will make it difficult for the Dolphins to run between the tackles in Week 10, but he's even more of a disruptive force as a pass rusher.
The onus will fall on the Dolphins' interior offensive line, most notably John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, to keep McCoy from collapsing the pocket.