Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dolphins-Cowboys: Week Two Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week two matchup against the Dallas Cowboys:

Where: Dolphin Stadium
When: Sunday, 4:05 PM ET

  • Miami: Out - CB Andre' Goodman; Probable - RB Jesse Chatman
  • Dallas: Out - LB Greg Ellis, WR Terry Glenn; Questionable - CB Terence Newman; Probable - LB Kevin Burnett

Positional Breakdown:



Running backs


Offensive line
Defensive line



Special teams


Overall Advantage

Keys to the Game:
  1. Will Miami's defense be able to stop the run? Last season, the Miami defense was consistently able to stop the run. While they may still be able to do that this season, they didn't show it against the Redskins. The defensive front four were easily muscled out of their lanes by a tough Washington line. Dallas boasts an even bigger offensive line - one of the biggest in the league. Jason Taylor may have a tough time stopping the run in the face of these guys, and it will be vitally important for Keith Traylor to get a strong push up the middle. Otherwise, Julius Jones and Marion Barber will consistently reach the second level and possibly break off some big plays.
  2. How on earth are the Dolphins going to cover Terrell Owens? Miami's secondary was already suspect before it lost Yeremiah Bell for the season. Now there's a chance it might collapse, especially against a high-powered aerial offense like Dallas' which features a wide array of big pass-catching threats like T.O. and Jason Witten. Miami doesn't have a corner who can match T.O. size-wise. Instead, they are going to have to stick two guys on him almost all the time. That might leave Witten matched up one-on-one with just a linebacker more often.
  3. Will Miami be able to generate enough of a pass rush to mask its depleted secondary? The Dolphins didn't generate a very strong pass rush last week, and it resulted in several long completions made against them. Tony Romo may be young and inexperienced, but he's shown a good degree of composure when given some time. It will be absolutely necessary for Taylor and Joey Porter to pressure Romo early and often. If they can't, Miami might find itself in an impossible hole very early.
  4. Will Trent Green be able to exploit a weak Dallas secondary? If there's one glaring weakness on the Cowboys, it's the secondary. S Roy Williams may be good, but only in run support. Starting CB Terence Newman may not play. That means that Chris Chambers and Marty Booker could see some favorable matchups downfield, and Trent Green will need to exploit them in order to give Miami a chance. Miami lacked big-play-ability last week. The opportunities will be there this week.
Key Players:
  • Miami: Jason Taylor - How effective will he be against the run, facing a large group of offensive lineman? In the passing game, he will need to keep his aggressiveness at full-tilt in order to fuel a pass rush that will lead to turnovers.
  • Dallas: Terrell Owens - Owens has to be licking his chops against this secondary. He can outleap, outrun, and simply dominate most of the guys Miami will line up deep. But Owens is inconsistent. Will he only show up for a half or a quarter? If he doesn't get involved early, will he simply disappear? He didn't do that last week, making all his catches in the second half, but if Miami can take away the deep pass by rushing Romo, they might be able to neutralize Owens.
Prediction: Miami's defense improves from last week and Trent Green is able to make a big play or two in the passing game, but ultimately the 'Boys offense will be too much to overcome.

Dallas wins 23-20.

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