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Omar Kelly: Here’s what Dolphins must do to defeat Saints

Five issues the Miami Dolphins (7-7) must do to push their successful streak to seven video games, and beat the Saints in New Orleans (7-7) throughout Monday night time’s nationally televised recreation in Week 16:

Force Saints QB Taysom Hill to depend on his arm

Make no mistake about it, Hill — who was positioned on the COVID checklist Thursday and will miss Monday’s recreation — isn’t the kind of quarterback who desires to show he’s a pure passer. He’d quite run an option-style offense and run a linebacker over. He’s rushed for 1,120 yards and scored 16 touchdowns on the bottom utilizing his legs in 204 carries all through his first 4 seasons. Since changing into New Orleans’ beginning quarterback, he’s carried the ball 11 occasions per recreation, and is averaging 6.2 yards per try.

The Dolphins have accomplished an excellent job containing scrambling quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson and Cam Newton this season, however Hill presents a risk due to the individuality of the offense. It would profit the Dolphins to contained the sides and inspired Hill, who’s finishing 55.7 p.c of his passes, to throw the ball downfield to his receivers and tight ends.

Keep Saints RB Alvin Kamara from producing huge performs

Despite lacking 4 video games due to accidents, Kamara has recorded 1,016 offensive yards and scored eight touchdowns within the 10 video games he’s performed. He averages 22 touches per recreation, so meaning greater than one-third of the Saints offense will undergo their scatback, who has a knack for creating huge performs by making defenders miss.

Miami’s linebackers — significantly Duke Riley, who has performed a major function in current weeks — must be on excessive alert for Kamara, particularly when he’s popping out the backfield. The Dolphins can’t afford to sort out poorly like they did final week in opposition to the New York Jets.

Protect Tua Tagovailoa

Tagovailoa leads the NFL in completion proportion (69.9) heading into this week’s video games, and since his return from injured reserve in Week 6 his 71.6 completion proportion leads the NFL. He’s drastically improved the staff’s sacks-per-pass-play fee due to his knack for evading sacks and making fast choices.

It additionally helps that the left facet of Miami’s offensive line has begun to stabilize because of Liam Eichenberg’s enchancment, and Austin Jackson gaining consolation taking part in left guard. Jordan Cameron and Marcus Davenport have mixed for 12.5 sacks this season, and current a major problem to Miami’s tackles, significantly proper sort out Jesse Davis, who has struggled in opposition to highly effective defensive ends.

Score 21, or extra factors

The Dolphins offense erupted final week, scoring 31 factors and recording 379 yards, which is the fourth-highest output of the season. And that occurred regardless of committing two pricey turnovers that gift-wrapped the Jets 10 factors. Miami’s going to wish that form of scoring output to maintain tempo with the Saints, who’ve produced greater than 300 yards 10 occasions this season.

The New Orleans protection ranks sixth in factors allowed per recreation (20.4), and a serious a part of the Saints’ defensive success is credited to the third-down conversion fee (37.3) they’re permitting. The Dolphins offense, which ranks ninth within the NFL on third-down conversions (41.9 p.c) must be sharp on Monday.

Rush for at the very least 100 yards

Duke Johnson erupted in opposition to the Jets, gaining 107 speeding yards and scoring two touchdowns on his 22 carries. The Dolphins want to supply the previous University of Miami standout a possibility to show he can carry the staff’s speeding assault in opposition to the Saints, who restrict opponents to 96 speeding yards per recreation and three.8 yards per try.

The Dolphins are averaging 30 speeding makes an attempt per recreation throughout Miami’s six-game successful streak so anticipate this matchup to function loads of carries for Miami’s backs. The Dolphins must put an emphasis on attending to the second degree of the Saints protection, and Phillip Lindsay’s outside-zone working fashion may benefit Miami’s offense.

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