It's easier said than done, and it spans across every sport, but taking away the opponent's best weapon is a logical blueprint to victory. Every NBA team in the 1990's wanted to force Scottie Pippen to beat them in lieu of a classic Michael Jordan 50-point night. When Barry Bonds hit 73 homeruns in 2001, he proceeded to draw walks at a 30.1 percent clip over the next four seasons.
Jordan and Bonds are lofty comparisons, but the Kansas City Chiefs offense is full of players that may need to be pitched around, as it were. On track to eclipse 6,000 yards of offense for the fourth straight season (a feat accomplished by no other team during that span), their impressive aerial display and ground game are both littered with explosive options.
Tight end Travis Kelce is second in the NFL with 1,114 receiving yards. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill is third with 1,079 yards and his 13 touchdown receptions are tied for the most in the league (Davante Adams). Together, their 21 touchdowns receptions and 108 first downs earned are both best for any receiving duo in the NFL.
"Well, when you have an elite player like that, you have to pay close attention to him," Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores said of Kelce. "They do a good job of flexing him out, they move him around a lot, so you have to pay close attention to him … He's a dynamic player. He's one of many on their offense and defense. Let's not forget about this defense either. They've got some explosive players there too – guys who can ruin a game. They've got a good team."
"With a guy like that who's an explosive target who moves all around, I think it really challenges your communication and where guys need to be and having an understanding of where he is," Dolphins Defensive Backs Coach Gerald Alexander said of Hill.
Hill and Kelce aren't the first highly-productive players the Dolphins have come across this season. Below is a look at the leading receiver of each team's entering their game with Miami since the Week 5 win in San Francisco.
For context, those seven players collectively average 8.1 yards per target this season. Slot receivers, wide outs, tight ends, all positions accounted for, and that'll have to be the case on Sunday. While Hill and Kelce pace the playmakers, the Chiefs arsenal goes deeper.
"Who are you going to put on (Sammy) Watkins? Who are you going to put on Mecole (Hardman)? Who are you going to put on (Demarcus) Robinson," Flores opined Wednesday. "We've got to handle the backs too. (Clyde) Edwards-Helaire is a good back. Le'Veon Bell isn't a slouch either. I wish we could have 14 defenders. That would be nice."
Hardman averages 17.6 yards per reception catching 67.5 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns in his two-year career. Watkins has 100-yard games 12 times in his career and Edwards-Helaire is 10th in the NFL with 926 yards from scrimmage.
"They make you defend every blade of grass and they have a tremendous set of skill players to do it," Dolphins Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer said. "Tyreek Hill is a very explosive player, (Mecole) Hardman is a very explosive player and they've got very good skill all the way around the board – tight ends, receivers. You're looking at two of the fastest guys in the league that they have on their team and then a quarterback that can make all the throws and extend plays, so it's a big challenge."
"This week it's all about playing team defense," Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker said. "We can't rely on one person or two guys, we can't just double somebody. You also have to play together. You have to alert guys across the field. You have to communicate and play together as a defense. The d-line has to go along with the coverage. It truly has to be a team defensive game."
Last week, the Dolphins held the Bengals to seven points, 196 total yards and just 12 first downs. Kyle Van Noy sacked Cincinnati quarterbacks a career-high three times and recorded five tackles for loss. He's only the second player in the NFL this season to make five tackles behind the line of scrimmage in a single game.
"That the guy is a hell of a player," Dolphins Outside Linebackers Coach Austin Clark said. "I think he's getting better each week. I think his experience within the scheme is a huge benefit. I would say as coaches, the guy does stuff sometimes where you're like, 'man!' The way he plays, his instincts are just as much of an asset as where he's aligned. The guy makes big-time plays in games and we're lucky to have him, that's for sure."
It's the second AFC Defensive Player of the Week award in Van Noy's career (2019 with New England). He's the first Dolphins player to win the award since cornerback Xavien Howard won it in Week 13 of 2018.
DeVante Parker Gives Back
The Dolphins wide receiver teamed up with Starlight Children's Foundation to provided patients with hospital gowns displaying the two main characters from Parker's animated series 'Uncle Vante.'
"We trying to something with (Starlight) this year," Parker said. "I wasn't able to talk to the kids but I was able to wave at them through the window. It was a good experience giving back to the community and I look forward to doing more with them."
Wednesday Injury Report
Running back Salvon Ahmed, offensive guard Ereck Flowers and linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts did not practice Wednesday.
Ten Dolphins players were limited in Wednesday's practice.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill, offensive lineman Yasir Durant and linebacker Damien Wilson didn't practice on Wednesday.
For the rest of the Dolphins-Chiefs Week 14 injury report, click here.