If you had told me five weeks ago the Miami Dolphins would have been one of the NFL’s seven undefeated teams three weeks into the regular season, I would have sold you some property in the everglades.
This is a truly enigmatic team, where a passing offense and stout defense is doing its job while the franchise waits for the running game to show some signs of life.
Hmm, seems like a franchise back in the early 1980s with a gunslinger at quarterback, two speedy receivers and a defense that was a brick wall.
I am never going to say the 1985 Miami Dolphins and the 2013 team are one in the same, but there are a few similarities. And make no mistake. No matter how good he could be, Ryan Tannehill will never be Dan Marino and Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace will never be Mark Clayton and Mark Duper.
But with the 3-0 start, there is a strong hope that this franchise has turned a very wide corner in the home stretch of rebuilding. Now comes the fun stuff. The Dolphins can challenge for an AFC East title and maybe make some noise in the playoffs, but certains must fall into place if this franchise is going to contend for a spot in New York come February.
Beating the Saints on Monday night will go a long way toward making that happen.
Another week, another big-time passer faces the Dolphins' secondary. It sounds like a broken record, but it’s so true - this Dolphins' secondary will be tested for the third week in a row. There is no rest for the weary.
While the Fins are the surprise team in the AFC, the same thing could be said about the Saints, who are not only winning on offense with Drew Brees, but are also winning with a renewed defense led by Rob Ryan.
Yes, the Saints are playing defense.
Can the secondary - led by Brent Grimes - handle the speed and quickness of the New Orleans receivers? They did a good job containing the Falcons high-powered passing attack for the most part. This time, they will need to do better.
Here are some things this team still needs to work on…
The running game
It looks like the tandem of Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller were in sync this past weekend. Miller ran for 62 yards on just 8 carries including a nice 49-yard scamper, but that means he had seven carries for 13 yards.
Thomas scored on a 5-yard touchdown and finished the day with 5 carries for 21 yards. The offensive line is still having issues with run blocking. The Saints have been able to provide pressure through the middle of the defense, so the guards must step up.
More chances for Wallace
The receiver had 2 receptions for 22 yards in the game against Atlanta.
Maybe that is a good thing since teams are aware of him and his ability. It also means that Hartline and the other Dolphins receivers are open in passing lanes.
Wallace is being used as a decoy, but the team is not afraid to take a shot if the safety rolls off of his side of the field.
Tight ends need more face time
They were not as involved in the Falcons game as they were in Indianapolis. Charles Clay caught 4 receptions for 40 yards. But when it mattered most, the tight ends showed their muster.
Clay grabbed a 21-yard pass after dropping one on his second-year QB. Michael Egnew caught his first career pass for 8 yards. And Dion Sims grabbed his first career pass, which proved to be the game winner.
More defensive presence
This is a team that got a bit of good news when it learned the injury to Cameron Wake was a sprain.
The defensive line did not register a sack on Sunday. That will be a major focus of change this week against the Saints' offensive line. If the Fins are to win on Monday, they must put pressure on Drew Brees. Could this be the week Dion Jordan is let loose to terrorize the Saints' backfield? Maybe.
I expect the rookie defensive lineman to be a major factor in this game.