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Miller’s Week 6 NFL, Fins & Fantasy

October 13th, 2013 · No Comments

Miller’s Week 6 NFL, Fins & Fantasy

Miami Dolphins Bye Week Status and Forecast:
They say that tribulation produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope. After a 3-0 start to the regular season, Miami has lost its last 2 games, albeit to strong opponents. This mini losing streak preceding the team’s bye week will sharpen the Fins’ focus, strengthen its collective resolve to correct its deficiencies, and engender the type of hopeful yet realistic expectations to make the playoffs and perhaps go deeper than most would predict.

Miami’s offense has been inconsistent and has not yet realized a true identity. After letting star RB leave the team via free agency only to land in Detroit and exceed expectations thus far, the team has leaned somewhat on Lamar Miller as a featured back. But aside from one 49-yard run and a few nifty bursts for small chunk plays off left tackle, the 2nd year ex-Cane has been underwhelming. Perhaps this is due to a lackluster offensive line, whose right tackle Tyson Clabo looks more like chicken salad than a recent pro bowl selection. Or perhaps the lack of explosiveness from speed-merchant WR Wallace, outside of a breakout game at Indy and a 100 yard effort vs the Ravens, has thwarted the development of the offense. Either way, QB Tannehill is now the most sacked QB in the NFL (24), and has yet to develop the much-awaited rapport with his star wideout, who has not helped his own cause by dropping his share of balls.

Still, there are bright spots on offense that give the locals reason to be hopeful. TE C.Clay has filled in nicely for the promising, newly acquired D.Keller, whose season ended in an exhibition game. Slot WR B.Gibson has made contributions in the short passing game, and newly extended WR Hartline has continued to be Tanny’s “go-to-guy”. Rookie TE D.Sims caught a winning score, but has not been a major factor just yet. Meanwhile, WR/KR and elusive specialist M.Thigpen is figuring more into offensive play calls. Now it’s up to OC Sherman to make the right pre and in-game adjustments to hide the obvious weaknesses of the O-Line and give its 2nd year QB time to make plays down-field; i.e., roll him out every now and then. By the way, special props to rookie KI C.Sturgis who has made 10 of 11 FGs (missed from 57-to tie Ravens).

The Fins’ D started out strong at Cleveland with CB D.Patterson picking off 2 passes en route to a solid win, but then a groin injury has kept him out since then. He and newly acquired standout CB B.Grimes are an excellent tandem of play-makers; but they have to be on the field at the same time to be impactful. In the Fins 3 wins (Cle, Indy, Atl.), the defensive front 7 forced the issue by sacking, forcing turnovers and hurrying throws leading to more offensive possessions and resulting points. In their 2 losses (N.O., Bal.) injuries to star pass rusher C.Wake and LB D.Ellerbe have stunted the ability to pressure QB’s. Still, the Saints loss can be more attributable to mismatches exploited by superior play-calling and a guy named Brees.

Bright spots on defense include the aforementioned Grimes and rookie DE D.Jordan, but the latter 3rd pick overall has to get more than the 20 snaps he averages thus far to warrant trading up to get him. DE O.Vernon has also shown flashes but inconsistency has stunted his progress. The decision to part ways with LB’s Burnett and Dansby to get younger and faster may have its upside, but certainly not if gauging how opposing TE’s have consistently burned coverage schemes. The once-feared run-D anchored by NT Soliai have been quite soft as well, but injuries and schemes have affected these stats. Still, changes need to be made by DC K.Coyle and he well knows it.

The Fins will play their first divisional game coming off the bye in Week 7 against the Bills. This is a winnable game, especially when considering starting QB Manuel will likely be out. Games such as this must be won, especially at home. Other very winnable games (on paper) include at Bills, Jets twice (split at worst), Panthers, at TB and at Steelers. The close ones “should” be those against the Bengals and Chargers. The latter 2 may decide at least one playoff seed tiebreaker. I will never assume a split with the Patriots for obvious reasons, but let’s just say they ain’t as great as they used to be. So do the math. That’s 5 “should wins” and 2 close ones – both at home. If we split, that’s 6 wins. Assuming losing twice to Pats, MIA “should” go 6-4, at worst, in their last 10 games. That’s a 9-7 record, and possibly good enough for the 6th seed in the Tourney.

Keep the chins (or fins) up Finfans, I’m predicting one game better than the conservative math to put us in as the 5th seed at 10-6. Remember: tribulation, perseverance, character and hope – the ingredients to make the rest of 2013 a memorable and positive experience for the faithful.

Week 6 NFL Winner Picks (CHI in bank via FB):
DEN, KC, HOU, SEA, SF, IND, DAL, MIN, CIN, BAL, NE, PHI, DET (if Calvin plays).
Special heartfelt condolences go to Adrian Peterson of the Vikings, who lost his 2-year-old son this past week. Being a father of 2, I cannot begin to imagine how painful this must be for AP.

Fantasy Sleepers:
QB: Flacco, Henne, Dalton, A.Smith, G.Smith, Schaub
RB: Blount, P.Thomas, Lacy, GIO, Powell, Woodhead
WR: Thompkins, Edelman, James Jones, Shorts, Blackmon, D.Bowe, T.Williams, K.Allen, Hilton, Tate, M.Williams, Sanu.
TE: Pettigrew, Rudolph, Olsen, Cumberland, H.Miller, Fleener, G.Graham, Celek, J.Reed
DF: DEN, CIN, KC, MIN, NYJ, SF, HOU, SEA (all teams)

That’s all for now.

Remember to Follow me on Twitter @Footballnutsy

Related posts:

  1. Miller’s Week 9 Fins & Fantasy
  3. Miller’s Week 5 Fins and Fantasy Blog
  4. Miller’s Week 10 Fins & Fantasy

Tags: Cool Topics · Eric Miller · Sports

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