Miami is prepared to battle Houston to make a playoff surge in a must-win week seventeen matchup.
Houston Texans (7-7) @ Miami Dolphins (7-7)
After San Diego crushed Tennessee last night, eliminating one potential wildcard contender, Miami’s chance to make the postseason slightly increased, but they still need some help. The Phins must win the last two at home to legitimately have a shot. Miami’s opponent this week, the Houston Texans, are also fighting for a spot, obviously boosting the importance of this game.
Miami will focus on rushing the ball against Houston’s sub-par run defense to control the clock. Houston will look to take advantage of Miami’s young cornerbacks with their stellar passing attack. Ricky Williams will have no problem moving the chains on the ground against Houston, as the Phins will look to utilize that weapon to keep Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson off of the field as much as possible.
Houston features a fierce duo in Schaub and Johnson, a combo that should give Miami some issues all game long. Even is Miami can muster an early lead, Houston is always capable of making a comeback with those two players on the field. Miami really needs rookies Vontae Davis and Sean Smith to play at an elite level to keep Houston’s offense under control.
On the defensive side of the ball, both teams are somewhat equal. Houston rookie linebacker, Brian Cushing, is questionable for the game, and the Texans will really need his help in shutting down Ricky Williams. Miami will need to apply pressure on Matt Schaub to take as much of their own pressure off of the shoulders of Davis and Smith. Miami needs to force turnovers in order to dominate this game.
Miami can not afford to let Johnson have another huge performance. If they allow Houston to take an early lead, it will prevent them from feeding the ball to Williams as much as they would like to do. If Miami is forced to pass to keep up with the Texans, Chad Henne will be expected to produce another big game in the air. Henne is capable of getting it done, but he has been susceptible to throwing interceptions late in the ball game.
All of the cards, or shall I say wildcards, are on the line for this Wildcat squad. Miami has no room for error and must make the most out of this matchup against the Texans. If they win, they will play another current wildcard contender, the Pittsburgh Steelers, nexy week. Both matchups, if won, will be a tremendous test right before the postseason, hopefully stirring up some much needed momentum for the playoffs.
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Written by Josh Souder