The Miami Dolphins play the Indianapolis Colts at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m.
This will be the fourth game for the Fins and their second at home. Last time out at Hard Rock Stadium, the Dolphins were destroyed 35-0 by the Buffalo Bills. Miami should have an easier time in their second outing here as they face the Colts, who are 0-3 for the year.
Indianapolis has played three playoff teams to begin the season and has been plagued by injuries. As of Thursday, the Colts have more than 10 players on their injury report. All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson has not practiced this week. Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz is also hindered by an injury to both ankles and has barely practiced.
Miami will look to put last week’s overtime loss to Las Vegas behind them with a win on Sunday. Below are three things to look out for as the Dolphins take the field against the Colts.
Football revenge game:
Fins quarterback Jacoby Brissett will start his second game of the season as Tua Tagovailoa remains on the injured reserve list. Brissett ran for the game-tying touchdown in the final seconds of the Raiders game last Sunday. That was his only score of the game. He will have to provide more scoring opportunities for the Dolphins.
Brissett has a history with the Colts. He played four seasons in Indianapolis and accumulated an 11-19 record as a starter. Last season Brissett was benched after the team signed eight-time ProBowler Phillip Rivers. After the season, the Colts did not bring back Brissett, and he signed a one-year, $5 million contract with Miami.
For the season, he has thrown one interception and no touchdowns. Miami has averaged 15 points a game in three contests, the third-worst in the league. Brissett will have to lead this team to score more than 15 to win.
Defensive line consistently creates pressure:
Indianapolis guard Quenton Nelson is not likely to play this Sunday. Nelson is regarded as one of the best players despite the position in the NFL. This is his fourth year in the league with 3 Pro-Bowl appearances.
Without Nelson, the Dolphins D-line will have an easier time creating pressure on the quarterback. The Fins are the second-worst team in the league in creating pressure; they have hurried the quarterback in only 3.3% of dropbacks this season.
Linebacker Jaelan Phillips, a Dolphins first-round draft pick from Miami, has not had much impact on the defensive front thus far. But against the Raiders last week, he played the most that he has all year. This should lead to a bigger role and maybe his first career sack.
Feed Myles Gaskin:
Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin has played well but has not had many opportunities to carry the ball. Currently, Gaskin is tied for 10th in the league in yards per rushing attempt at 5.1. The Fins need to commit to the run early to open up their offense.
Gaskin is elusive once the ball is in his hand and the Colts have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards.
It is well known Miami has trouble protecting the quarterback, and one of the best remedies for this is an effective running game. Gaskin has shown early this year that he can make a difference, but the coaching staff must show confidence in running the football.
On paper, Miami looks in better shape both physically and talent-wise than the Colts. But Indianapolis has scored more points in three losing efforts than the Fins have in their first three, despite the single win. The Colts played the Los Angeles Rams well in week two, and they are considered one of the best teams in football.
The Dolphins will win this game 24-16, and it will be a game where scoring early may make the difference. Miami has been consistent in creating turnovers as they produced at least one in 25 straight games.
This can be a good bounce-back game for the Fins, and they will hope to build some momentum with a win.