Miami vs Houston Week 11
Week 11 of the 2022 NFL season finally brought the Miami Dolphins much-needed rest. The whole team has been beaten up this year and the bye week allowed for those niggling injuries some rest, as well as giving McDaniel and the coaching staff time to prepare for life without the guys who have suffered season-ending injuries in recent weeks. Laremy Tunsil returns to Miami,
Miami has lost both Nik Needham and Brandon Jones for the rest of the year in recent weeks. The Dolphins secondary was already far from full strength with cornerback Byron Jones yet to take a single snap this year, but losing another two starters only dented that position group further.
Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah became the latest addition to the injury struggle, after tearing his tricep against the Cleveland Browns. Fortunately, Miami’s pass-rushing duo of Jaelen Phillips and the newly acquired Bradley Chubb will likely be the long-term partnership for the franchise, but the loss of Ogbah no doubt affects the roster’s depth and the increasing production of the defensive line.
When you consider the injuries, the Dolphins 7-3 record is even more impressive. Miami has held together as well as they possibly could and delivered impressive performances despite young inexperienced guys filling gaps.
None perhaps more impressive than rookie cornerback Kader Kohou. The young corner was undrafted out of Texas A&M-Commerce and has been called upon this season amidst the injury problems at defensive back. Kohou has now played 63% of the Dolphins defensive snaps, and largely held his own showing clear improvement week after week.
AFC East Division Race
Miami’s 7-3 record paired with the head-to-head win over the Buffalo Bills puts them first in the division heading into the weekend. Buffalo beat the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day on a last-second field goal. This put them at 8-3. Miami needs to beat Houston on Sunday to remain on top of the AFC East. The Dolphins will have the same record if Miami beats the Texans but Miami has the tiebreaker.
Both the Patriots and Jets are facing struggles offensively this season and have equally relied on good defense and their run game to continue to win. The Jets’ quarterback struggles have been highlighted since running back Breece Hall went down, and Zach Wilson has now been benched after a terrible performance against New England last weekend.
As a result, it feels like the race for the AFC East title is going to come down to a two-horse race between Miami and Buffalo. While both teams are only one game ahead of the Jets and Patriots, the gulf in quality is far larger.
Miami needs to take care of business against Houston this weekend. The game is considered one of the easier games on the upcoming schedule for McDaniel and his team, and it’s a must-win on the road to taking sole control of the division. The Dolphins will travel to Buffalo and New England before the end of the season, and need to be in as strong a position as possible before those games creep up.
Houston Texans vs Miami Dolphins Week 12 – 1:00PM EST
The Houston Texans have fallen away rather dramatically in recent weeks, losing five games on the bounce.
The Texans did show some real fight against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football in Week 9, taking the lead in the game and staying level with the high-flying Eagles until the half. They just make too many mistakes and lack the quality to see a game through.
A Houston Benching before taking on Miami
Quarterback Davis Mills, was on trial this season ahead of a stacked quarterback draft class this coming offseason. He had shown that he could make great throws and fit the ball into windows at times. But, consistency was lacking. Entering this week as Houston travels to take on Miami, Mills has been benched.
Mills had failed to complete over 59% of his passes in his last four outings. Houston will go with Kyle Allen at quarterback. Allen has started 17 NFL games. The Texans are in the midst of a very poor season. So, the change at QB is not shocking.
In the run of losses, the Houston Texans have averaged 14.6 points per game, and rank 30th on the season for their point-scoring average. That’s a tough matchup for them when trying to compete and keep up with this high-flying Miami Dolphins offense.
Miami must continue to roll as they take on Houston
Barring Raheem Mostert who is yet to practice this week with a knee injury, the Dolphins’ skill position players are healthy, and they’re dangerous. The Dolphins rank 6th in scoring so far this season, third in yards per game, and second in passing yards per game. That’s not bad for a team who was missing their starting quarterback for three games…
The Dolphins are still yet to lose this season with Tua Tagovailoa as the teams starting quarterback for all four quarters. The budding star is playing the best football of his career and has finally been empowered to be the talented quarterback we all knew he was capable of being when the Dolphins drafted him out of Alabama.
Tua is a genuine conversation for the league MVP this season. He leads the league in Quarterback rating, five points ahead of Patrick Mahomes in second place, and 10 points ahead of Josh Allen in third. The offense is as efficient as we’ve ever seen them, not punting once against the Cleveland Browns.
Final Thoughts and Prediction
Miami needs to go and take care of business against one of the league’s struggling teams this coming Sunday. They have to see themselves at 8-3 come Monday morning and continue to hold the top spot in the AFC East as a result.
The Texans are a low-scoring team who struggles to put together drives that result in points. Miami is the complete opposite and they have to take advantage of that, gaining more confidence and additional momentum as they head towards the final run into the playoffs.
It’s extremely important that Miami doesn’t look past this game and see it as any kind of walkover. While Houston is not in the strongest position and doesn’t have the strongest roster, we saw what they did against the Philadelphia Eagles. They controlled the football well and held possession in the first half, keeping themselves in the game. That will be their game plan against Miami too.
Houston will be very aware of the efficiency of the Dolphins offense, and will need to keep the football away from them as much as physically possible. That means running the ball and trying to pick their way down the field against a Miami Dolphins defense that’s missing a few components.
The offense can absolutely win this game for Miami. They’ve scored 30+ points in each of their last three outings and a performance just like the ones we’ve grown accustomed to this season will be enough to win. The defense just needs to hold their own as best they can. They need to continue to develop with players. Fill gaps left by injuries, and keep building momentum.
Prediction: Miami Dolphins 37 – Houston Texans 14
8-3 by Monday morning. The only outcome. #FinsUp