by Philip Bijeau
CHFF Miami Dolphins Beat Writer

In order for the Miami Dolphins to get back to their winning ways, they will need to lure the Oakland Raiders into the Bermuda Triangle. There, it is hoped that the Raiders will lose their bearings and never be heard from again in South Florida. The reality is something far less sinister, though the Dolphins hope to sink the Raiders in a deep sea of points.

An analysis of the game begins with Cold Hard Football Facts, where the favored Dolphins are again in familiar territory with the cards stacked against them. The 7-4 Raiders are 4-2 in Quality Standings, one of only six teams to have a winning record against opponents with a winning record. The other factors that favor the Raiders:

  • Defensive Passer Rating - 5th, the Raiders have the 2nd stingiest completion % against at 52.33.

  • Defensive Real passing yards per Attempt - 6th at 5.68 because of a league fourth-best 32 sacks.

  • Defensive Real Quarterback Rating - 7th at 70.68%. In three of four losses, the Raiders allowed almost 96%.

  • Defensive Negative Pass Plays - 10th at 10.15. (the percentage of time opponents' pass plays end up in sack or interception.)

Teams choose to run against the Raiders, who give up 135 rushing yards per game.

  • Real Passing Yards per Attempt - 7th at 7.04. The Raiders have the 4th-fewest sacks allowed with 19.

  • Rushing Yards per Attempt - 7th at 4.66. Michael Bush is picking up the slack from the injured Darren McFadden.

  • Offensive Hog Index - 13th, because of their rushing yards per attempt.

The Raiders' strength is running the football for first downs. Veteran QB Carson Palmer is almost back to mid-season form and should add more balance for the Raiders.

The Dolphins' three-game win streak was halted by one point in the Dallas loss. Looking to get back on track , the Dolphins benefit from these advantages:

  • Bendability Index - 4th, behind SF, NE and GB, three teams with a combined record of 28-5.

About The Bendability Index: It measures the concept of the "bend but don't break defense."The Bendability Index is not merely a defensive indicator! It is a team-wide measurement of ability to keep opponents off the scoreboard. It takes into account a variety of factors, including proficiency of offense and special teams, field position, red zone defense, and turnover differential, and then spits it all out in an easy-to-understand number. Other measures of defense, and defensive efficiency, look at the defensive unit in a vacuum and do not tell you how all units work together to keep opponents off the scoreboard.

  • Defensive Rushing Yards per Attempt - 7th at 3.73.

  • Defensive Success % on 3rd Down - 10th at 36.13.

  • Defensive Hog Index - 12th, because of the above two rankings. The Index measures the best defensive front in football.

Defense is the Dolphins' strong suit, allowing 97.5 yards per game. The top three Dolphins in solo tackles are LB Karlos Dansby 61, S Yeremiah Bell 58 and LB Kevin Burnett 55. The Dolphins LB Cameron Wake leads the team with 6.5 sacks, followed by LB Jason Taylor and DE Jared Odrick with four each. The Dolphins only have eight interceptions, but five of them have come in the last three games.

  • Offensive Passer Rating - 11th at 84.85.

Dolphins QB Matt Moore has been a catalyst for the Miami offense. He is seventh in the NFL with a 63% completion rate. Moore is 12th in the NFL with 7.34 yards per attempt, unfortunately, his 23 sacks drops Moores Real Passing Yards Per Attempt down to 6.21.

The Dolphins' rushing attack features RB Reggie Bush and rookie RB Daniel Thomas. The Dolphins' Rushing Yards per Attempt is only good for 3.95, ranked 22nd.

These are the fruits of an offensive line that is ranked 30th on the Offensive Hog Index. They are ranked 29th in Negative Pass Play %, giving up a sack or interception 11.78% of the time. The offensive line is also ranked 29th in Success % On 3rd Down, with only 30.66 rating. The Dolphins live or die with the play of their offensive line.

Dolphins K Dan Carpenter should be returning to action after missing two games with a hamstring injury. Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski is also nursing a hamstring. Raiders P Shane Lechler leads the league with a 51.5-yard average. Not to be outdoen, Dolphins P Brandon Fields leads the league with 46.2% of his punts inside the 20-yard line. In net yardage, the two opposing kickers are virtually even.

WR Davone Bess returns punts and WR Clyde Gates returns kicks for the Dolphins.

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