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Three Keys

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Three Keys | John Congemi Previews Dolphins-Giants

1) Protect the edge

The focus for the Dolphins this week is on the perimeter, both offensively and defensively. Offensive tackles Jesse Davis, Julién Davenport and J’Marcus Webb must not allow consistent edge pressure to affect the timing and flow of the passing game. The Giants have shown the ability to flush the pocket on opposing quarterbacks and alter the field position with sacks and tackles for loss this season. A player like Markus Golden, who has 8.5 sacks on the season, can wreck an entire game plan. He has shown quickness off of the ball and the ability to bend around pass protection and get to the passer. Also, if the Dolphins defense doesn't take proper angles and close the net on Giants running back Saquon Barkley, it just might be a long day at the office. Barkley's strength and speed either running it or catching screen passes from quarterback Eli Manning will sometimes make you look foolish, and it stresses the edge of a defense. The Miami defense must rally to Barkley with multiple defenders when he's in space and make sure they have more than one defender in position to make the tackle.

2) Touchdowns in red zone

The Miami offense was denied six points once entering the scoring zone last week against the Jets. Five times the Dolphins looked poised to finish a drive or capitalize on a defensive turnover and turn it into an offensive touchdown. They settled for three points on those five trips and ended up falling a point short at the end of 60 minutes. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a few chances to connect, especially with tight end Mike Gesicki, but the pressure in the pocket forced hurried throws, and missed opportunities. If the Dolphins have those same chances this week against the Giants, the offense must find a way to protect and have answers for defensive pressures that will come as a result of what the Jets did effectively last week. Also, a little run game in the red zone will take some pressure off of Fitz and company.

3) Close it out

Usually when teams are close to equal in scheme and ability, games will be decided in the second half, late in the fourth quarter. That has a very good chance of occurring against New York this week. A repeat performance in the same stadium verses a different team is the way I see this week's game going. Miami must win the turnover margin, penalties, hidden yards on special teams. All the stats sometime we take for granted because they most often show up in the fourth quarter. Most importantly, the Dolphins must be successful executing late in the game. Taking the proper angle on a blitz or converting on a third down to keep a drive going could be the difference in winning or losing.

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