Friday, November 21, 2008

Week #12 - Not Baiting Fish Here

You know how something that you know better to ignore but it still sets you off for the rest of the day. Well, I knew better to go into the Worldwide Leader’s AFC East blog but I did anyway. The content I usually don’t have a beef with (I’m trying to forget last year’s quest to demonize the Patriots by the gang over at Bristol) but it’s the trolls that frequent the board that always seem to get under my skin.

One such mental giant made this astute observation in a post about how Miami will deal with Randy Moss:

FINSownPATS (11/20/2008 at 12:37 PM)

ha ha ha ha!
Im laughing
because last year all the punk patsy fans were saying that the Tuna cant do nothing for the Fins! We whooped your #### last game and its gona be easier this time around! Sporano is the man, Joey Porter is gona breack Cassle in half, and the Tuna owns Belibitch! Except for the 3 superbowls the Patriots have been an awful franchise and your on your way back! Get the paper bags ready to put on your heads after another blowout! Fins 27 Overated hasbins from boston 10!
Laughable Pre-K spelling aside, this kinda of crap really pissed me off. Obviously, it is misinformed, which should immediately tell me to ignore it. And yet, the whole statement about the Patriots being an awful franchise prior to 2001 is an emotional undercurrent that all members of the Patriot Hater Nation take to heart. I’m sure that if you ask any one of the former Bronco/Steeler players who are “football analysts” and they would say something similar to what Mr. FINSownPATS stated (and all but Sharpe would say it better).

So, I’m making this personal and proving the blowhard Fish fan is as wrong about the Pats organization in comparison to the Miami Dolphins as his grammar teacher was to give up on teaching him the Queen’s English.

And for all of the geniuses out there, I will make only two simple assessments. I will only compare both team’s regular season and post-season records since the last time the Dolphins went deep into the playoffs. That’s right; we’re going back in time start this statistical snapshot on the NFL’s 65th season otherwise known as 1984.

**Disclaimer – All stats were obtained from one of the high meccas of statistical warehousing known as Pro Football

During the span of these 24 seasons, Miami won 212 games and lost 171 for a winning percentage of .554 with one season of 1 win (2007) and a season high of 14 wins (1984). By comparison, New England also won 212 games and lost 171 with one season of 1 win (1990) and a season high of 16 wins (2007) during that same timeframe.

Whoa that’s weird, man. And yet based on these stats, not only is Sunday’s game for a possible tie for first place in the AFC East but also it will give the victor one regular game up on the other since the last time the Dolphins went to Super Bowl XIX.

But really, the regular season only tells part of the story. The playoffs are what all teams strive to reach. The Dolphins made the post-season 11 times in 24 years with an astounding record of 9 wins and 11 losses for a .45 winning percentage. The Dolphins were 0-1 in the Super Bowl (1984) and three times, the Fish were one-and-done in the playoffs.

New England made the playoffs 12 times in the same time period with a record of 20 wins against only 9 losses for a winning percentage of .690. The Pats were 3-3 in the Super Bowl (1985, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007) and they left the playoffs three times without winning a playoff game.

Okay, so what was really learned here? The Pats and the Fins are basically equal, stats wise, since ’84; much to the dismay of both team fans. But with six appearances in February and winning over twice as many playoff games as they lost, the Pats have statistically proven that they are more than Miami’s match for in regards to franchise accomplishments.

With that exercised out of my subconscious, here’s the battle for win #213…

This Week – Miami Dolphins (6-4; Against AFC East 2-1; Against the Pats 1-0)

Fish On A Roll

Man, I’m beginning to wonder if Coach Belichick and his coaching staff is forgetting to read my column. I mean, he didn’t get my plans to expose the weakness of the Jets’ DBs by using 3WR/1TE or 4WR sets until near the end of the second quarter. I guess someone on his staff must’ve remembered to look here in between the 2-minute warning. Hopefully, with no more Thursday night games, it won’t happen again.

With that in mind, how should the Pats win against the streaking Dolphins, winners of four straight games, Mr. All-Knowing Football Man? If you look at the stats, the trends are there for the reading.

On offense, the Pats need to continue to work on the 3WR/1TE sets from last week to keep the Dolphins nickel and dime DBs on the field. The Fins are 23rd in the NFL for passing yards per game. The Pats also should go deep against the Dolphins as they Fish are 29th in the league in allowing passing plays of 20 yards or more. But since the Fins are in the top 10 in sacks, Cassel needs to get check down or rid of the ball if the deep ball is not there. I do have another plea to have Cassel use the shovel pass up the middle and the WR bubble pass on the sides to tire the D-line and LBs.

With Sammy Morris coming back this week, he might be able to run better on the left side. While I’m not a fan of running at the new Mouth of the South (Porter) and Holliday but prior to Game 3 of the 2008 season getting out of hand early, Morris did have some success on that side of the line and with a relatively healthy line, running the ball is a necessary component to a Pats victory.

On the defensive side of the ball, there will be visions of last week’s Favre check-down mode on the field by the Fish. With Pennington behind center, the Fish are 9th in the league in passing yards. But that doesn’t mean that the Fins won’t try to go long as they are 10th in completions of 20 yards or more. That means in obvious passing situations, the Patriots need to play a Cover 2 scheme with over the top safety help to keep Camarillo and Ginn, Jr in check.

But the real question is how should the Pats defend the high school Wildcat formation? They should do the same thing that they always do for run-heavy teams. They should play a 3-4 alignment. The D-line and LBs must be held responsible for their backfield reads. Staying home and seeing the formation for a second time will definitely limit those explosive runs by Brown and Williams.

Lastly, if the Pats can play a bend-but-don’t-break style, they might be able to hang in the game. The Fins are 24th in the league with a 20.9 scoring average and 26th in the NFL with only 9 TD passes. Keeping people in front of them, limiting the one-on-one exposure in the defensive backfield and wrapping people up will make it a successful night for the Pats and should help the Pats secure the needed win to keep pace in the tight AFC East.

Next team on the docket is the AFC North leader Pittsburgh Steelers, another recently made grudge match. Can the Pats take advantage of a QB who is still trying to get back his groove? Will they be able to withstand the blitzing onslaught that comes with playing the Black and Gold? Tune in next Friday to find out.

Sphere: Related Content