Thanksgiving Day Preview: Dolphins at Cowboys

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 23, 2011



By Philip Bijeau
CHFF Miami Dolphins Beat Writer

The 3-7 Miami Dolphins travel to Dallas to face the 6-4 Cowboys for a Thanksgiving Day matchup. The rap on the Dolphins three-game win streak is that they haven't beaten any good teams. The Dolphins have a great opportunity to silence those critics with a positive primetime performance in Dallas.
 
The best indicators for this matchup will be found at Cold Hard Football Facts. The Dolphins are trying to overcome a 0-7 start, and as usual, find themselves on the short end when measuring their potential to win the game. They will have to continue to beat the odds with these advantages:
  • Bendability Index - The Dolphins defense climbed from 30th at the Week Five bye to 2nd.
  • Defensive Rushing Yards per Attempt - ranked 6th at 3.73. The Dolphins defense has allowed just three rushing touchdowns and 98.7 yards per game.
  • Defensive Success % on 3rd Down - ranked 12th at 36.99.
  • Defensive Hog Index - ranked 12th.
The Dolphins defense will have to play another stellar game against a Cowboys offense that ranks:
  • Offensive Passer Rating - 4th.
  • Offensive Hog Index - 4th.
  • Real Passing Yards per Attempt - 5th.
  • Real Quarterback Rating - 5th
  • Passer Rating Differential - 5th.
  • Rushing Yards per Attempt - 7th.
  • Negative Pass Plays - 7th.
As you can see, the game will feature strength on strength, the Dolphins defense, led by:
  • LB Cameron Wake, 5.5 sacks,
  • LB Jason Taylor, 4 sacks,
  • DE Jared Odrick, 4 sacks,
  • S Yeremiah Bell, 70 tackles
  • LB Karlos Dansby, 66 tackles, 
  • LB Kevin Burnett, 56 tackles
vs. the Cowboys offense.Cowboys leading receiver TE Jason Witten:
  • 52 Rec,
  • 670 Yds,
  • 34 1st Downs,
  • 5 TDs,
and WR Dez Bryant:
  • 35 Rec,
  • 585 Yds,
  • 28 1st Downs,
  • 6 TDs.
Miami's offense will have to contend with a Cowboys defense that has 14 interceptions and 12 forced fumbles. Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware leads the NFL with 14 sacks. CB Terence Newman has 4 interceptions and LB Sean Lee has 3 interceptions and leads the Cowboys with 65 tackles.

The Cowboys played passive defense against the Washington Redskins, waiting for Redskins QB Rex Grossman to make mistakes. He didn't, and the Cowboys found themselves in an overtime game. The Cowboys will turn up the pressure on the Dolphins mediocre offensive line. Whether or not the Dolphins withstand that pressure will go a long way to determine the final outcome. Dolphins RB Daniel Thomas:
  • 406 Yds,
  • 3.6 Yds/Avg,
  • 0 TD,
  • 17 1st Downs,
will need to play a bigger role, because the Cowboys will try to neutralize Miami RB Reggie Bush:
  • 506 Yds.,
  • 4.3 Yds/Avg,
  • 4 TDs,
  • 20 1st Downs,
and force Dolphins QB Matt Moore:
  • 1,319 Yds,
  • 63.6 Comp%
  • 7 TDs,
  • 5 Ints,
  • 85.8 Rating
to put the ball in the air to Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall:
  • 54 Rec,
  • 747 Yds,
  • 37 1st Downs,
  • 2 TDs.
The underrated Dolphins, riding high on emotion and pride, will be more than a match for the Cowboys.

Miami 27
Dallas 17


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