There are just two games left in the Miami Dolphin’s regular season, and just when you thought you’d seen all there was for this Dolphins team, they go out and rush for 250 yards as a team against the vaunted New England Patriots in Week 15, bullying their way to 22 second-half points as a 22-12 victory over the Patriots. What will Week 16 have in store as the Las Vegas Raiders host the Dolphins in their brand new stadium? The Dolphins are playing for playoff positioning, whereas the Raiders’ playoff hopes are on life support and a loss on Saturday night would formally drop the Raiders from the potential playoff field.
With so much on the line, what craziness could we see? Here are our five bold predictions for the Dolphins in Week 16?
Dec 29, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; A Miami Dolphins helmet rests on cooler during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
The AFC Playoff field keeps the heat on Miami
The Dolphins sure could use some help from some of their AFC contemporaries as they look for the path to the playoffs to materialize. The Browns keep winning. So do the Ravens. The Colts are another team that keeps the pressure on, although they do face the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend. Don’t expect any surprise help for the Dolphins’ playoff hopes this week. If Miami wants a postseason berth, they’re going to have to take it at this point. That includes a win in each of the next two weeks.
Dec 13, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) makes a one handed catch to intercept a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
The Dolphins tie a season-high in interceptions for Derek Carr
Saw what you will about Carr’s ceiling as a passer, one thing he does very well is take care of the football. Carr’s career interception rate is just 1.8% of his pass attempts — a figure that is nearly half of the career mark posted by Ryan Fitzpatrick (3.4%). But Carr got tagged twice earlier this season by another of the NFL’s best defenses the Indianapolis Colts. With the Dolphins being the league’s best at crafting turnovers, we’d like to wager that the Dolphins are able to heat up Carr and force two more interceptions (and we’ll make the “bold” prediction that Xavien Howard lands one of them, too).
Dec 20, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Salvon Ahmed (26) scores on a two-point conversion attempt during the second half against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Miami runs for 150+ rushing yards once again
We made the bold prediction last week that Miami would rush for “140+ yards” and it ended up being the most inaccurate, accurate bold prediction of the season. The Dolphins nearly doubled it. But the trend line for Miami’s running game is undeniable — the Dolphins are starting to find some success running the football. We can’t expect 200+ yards every week, but we can expect Miami to continue to play the possessions game with teams to capitalize on opposing mistakes. If Miami can run the ball, expect them to stay committed to it to put a greater emphasis on the mistakes they can force from the Raiders.
Let’s go for another 150+ rushing yards this weekend for the Dolphins.
Dec 13, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) attempts a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Tua Tagovailoa goes perfect in the red zone
Week 15 was marred for Tagovailoa with a self-described “blind” throw in the red zone that resulted in the Dolphins’ only turnover. Miami made the necessary adjustments to find their rhythm from there and we’re willing to bet that Tagovailoa keeps that rolling against one of the NFL’s least imposing defenses in Week 16. The Dolphins’ successes in the red zone will be tied to two key variables — the run game and Tagovailoa’s decision making process. We’re betting both perform at a high level this weekend.
Dec 1, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores throws out the challenge flag during the first half Philadelphia Eagles at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
A 26-17 Dolphins win
If the Dolphins are going to generate turnovers (again), run the football (again) and be proficient in the red zone (again), that feels like a recipe for a victory on the road in Las Vegas, doesn’t it? The Dolphins and Raiders have split the all-time series to this point, 17-17-1. But we’d bet the Dolphins claim the advantage for now courtesy of a team that is trending in the right direction. Since starting 6-3, the Dolphins and Raiders have seen their teams go in completely different directions. The Dolphins are 3-2, the Raiders 1-4.
Better coaching, better defense, better special teams and momentum all trend towards Miami.