The Arizona Cardinals will look to build off their win last week against the Washington Redskins with another one this week in Miami.
The Arizona Cardinals still have some life in the race for the playoffs. A win tomorrow against the Miami Dolphins (7-5) keeps them alive for just one more week, but a loss almost ensures their elimination is near.
What’s their story?
The Dolphins, lead by head coach Adam Gase, have had an interesting 2016 season. They started the season at 1-4, thanks to bad losses against the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans. Opening the regular season in Weeks 1 and 2 with road games in Seattle and New England probably didn’t help either.
Miami dug themselves a hole from the get-go, and needed to show some life sooner rather than later if they wanted to even have a shot for a postseason appearance.
Not only did they manage to get out of that hole, they got rid of it completely. They completely erased their poor start with six straight wins that put them in playoff contention.
Their hot-streak began in Week 6, when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at home, 30-15. After that game, the Dolphins either started playing good football, or they got a little help from the schedule-makers. Their next five games were all against teams that now sit .500 or below.
The strange thing about this Dolphins team is that despite their record, their wins aren’t very convincing. The Browns, who have yet to win a game this season, took the Dolphins all the way to overtime, but fell 30-24.
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In the five consecutive games against teams under the .500 mark, the game was decided every time by less than seven points. Their Week 12 win at home against the San Francisco 49ers came down to the final play of the game, when linebacker Kiko Alonso stuffed Colin Kaepernick’s attempted game-tying touchdown inside the five-yard line.
But hey, a win is a win, and that might be the perfect way to summarize the season the Miami Dolphins are having.
X’s and O’s
Jay Ajayi has been the Dolphins’ best offensive player this season, and it took them four weeks to realize it. Ajayi started getting more carries in Week 5 against the Steelers, and he has never looked back since. In their win against Pittsburgh, Ajayi exploded for 204 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
The week after, the Boise State product reached the end zone once, but racked up another 200-yard performance, this time with 214. Thanks to Ajayi, the Dolphins are averaging 111.5 yard per game on the ground, which ranks them eighth in all of football.
Their starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill isn’t enjoying the same success as his teammate, Ajayi. Tannehill is averaging 233 passing yards per game, and has thrown 16 touchdowns while being intercepted 11 times. The 28-year old has thrown at least two interceptions in a game four times this season.
Fortunately for the Cardinals, the Dolphins defense is nothing to bat an eye over. They allow 23.2 points per game, while the Cards put up an average of 23.0 PPG.
Expect David Johnson to have a field day against this Dolphins defense that is ranked 30th in the league with 130.3 rushing yards allowed per game.
Miami’s defense has intercepted eleven passes this season, and quarterback Carson Palmer has thrown eleven.
The Dolphins seem to make every game close, no matter the opponent. And even though they have won more games than they have lost this season, the Cardinals still have a good shot against these Dolphins.