Six Points: Texans vs. Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins (2-3) looked like a completely different team in interim head coach Dan Campbell’s debut, but it remains to be seen if they can keep it up for another week against the Houston Texans (2-4).
DeAndre Hopkins is the league’s best wide receiver right now and will prove to be a handful for Miami’s secondary. Lamar Miller, on the other hand, started slow but picked it up for the first time last week against the Titans. We’ll see if Campbell can keep this Dolphins team on track, or if the Texans will hand him his first loss.
Here are three keys to the game for both the Texans and the Dolphins.
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1. Make Miami one-dimensional again
The Dolphins finally found their running game last week, with Lamar Miller running for 113 yards and a touchdown. That balance in the offense opened things up for the passing attack and the result was a blowout win. The Texans, who are 16th in the league in rushing defense, need to key on Miller and force Ryan Tannehill to throw. Tannehill has thrown seven interceptions over the last three games and is susceptible to turning the ball over.
2. Stick with the run
While the Houston defense needs to take away the run, on offense, the Texans need to make sure Arian Foster gets his share of touches. The Dolphins have the NFL’s second-worst rushing defense, surrendering 141 yards per game. Foster, who ran 18 times for 59 yards last week against Jacksonville, may be poised for a productive afternoon — don’t be surprised if some of his production comes in the passing game.
3. Keep feeding DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins, the reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week, leads the NFL in receiving yards and is second in receptions. Miami figures to put Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes on him, but Brian Hoyer and offensive coordinator George Godsey need to find a way to get him the ball regardless of the coverage. As Hopkins goes, so goes the Houston offense.
1. Keep up the physical play
The Dolphins came out firing against the Tennessee Titans last week in Dan Campbell’s debut, but they can’t afford to have a letdown against the Texans. They’ll need to keep up the intensity from last week and play with the same physicality — both on offense and defense. For the first time all season, the Dolphins looked like they were playing with a purpose, and this week should be no different.
2. Pound the ball with Lamar Miller
Miller didn’t eclipse the 20-carry mark after getting the ball early a week ago, but it was a pleasant surprise to see Campbell feed him the ball as often as he did. Miller has proven that he’s capable of handling a heavy workload. In fact, he seems to get into a rhythm when he’s handed the ball more often. The Dolphins topped 100 yards rushing in the first half last week, and they should have the same goal against the Texans this week.
3. Get Jarvis Landry involved more often
After catching eight passes in each of the first three games, Landry has caught just seven passes combined in the last two. He’s the catalyst of the offense and when he touches the ball, good things tend to happen. Ryan Tannehill has to target him more often, while also getting him the ball on end-arounds as they did last week.