Three Keys

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Three Keys | John Congemi Previews Dolphins at Cowboys

1) Slowing down Dak and Zeke

The Dallas Cowboys offense has been unstoppable over the last two weeks, averaging 33 points and 484 yards per game. Balance between quarterback Dak Prescott’s passing and the rushing attack of back Ezekiel Elliott makes the job of getting off of the field for the Dolphins defense almost impossible. Prescott’s ability to control the passing game with accuracy has been on full display, completing 82 percent of his throws and his touchdown to interception ratio (seven to one) is nearly perfect. Miami’s front seven must find a way to build upon the pressure from last week, getting two sacks on New England quarterback Tom Brady. Even if they don’t get Prescott on the ground, they must find a way to break the rhythm in the passing game. On the ground, Elliott is averaging more than 80 yards per game, and an impressive 4.6 yards per carry. The Dolphins front four must try and create penetration in the Cowboys backfield, which will give linebackers Jerome Baker and Sam Eguavoen chances to slow the powerful runner down before he hits the line of scrimmage at full speed.

2) Establishing early offense

It’s no secret that the Dolphins offense hasn’t been able to stay on the field, especially in the first half against the Ravens and the Patriots. Last week, this group only managed two first downs over three quarters, which is exposing the Miami defense in time of possession and the number of plays run against this unit. The offensive priority must be to find better execution on first and second down, finding easier windows in the passing game and creating movement at the line of scrimmage. Third down has not been friendly to the Miami offense (five of 25 in two games), so it will be crucial to move the sticks and have success on the early downs.

3) Turnovers and field position

Teams at any level rarely win consistently when they're on the wrong side of the turnover margin. The Dolphins have thrown six interceptions in two games and are minus five right now in turnover ratio. When you couple that with 10 sacks allowed and failing to flip the field consistently with the kicking game, you end up losing valuable hidden yardage over four quarters of football. Yards have been hard to come by and as difficult to defend. One way this team can combat these issues is to connect on their deep ball chances that create explosive plays down the field. Too many drops last week have kept a long field ahead of this offense.

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