In order to make sense of the chaos going on with these two teams, we’ve enlisted the help of those who know them the best. Expert NFL bloggers Kevin Nogle of Miami blog “The Phinsider” and Leo Howell of Tampa Bay blog “The Pewter Plank” strap on the pads and debate which team will not only win Monday night but cover the spread.
WHY MIAMI WILL COVER
Kevin Nogle is the managing editor for “The Phinsider”. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter @thephinsider.
The Dolphins’ locker room seems to be coming together throughout the Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito issue swirling around them right now. They are unified and they are angry. They are out to prove that the team has leaders and that they are not a locker room in disarray. Don't be surprised if they come out fast and looking to make the talk about their play on the field, instead of whatever is happening in the locker room.
Defense coming back strong
Miami should have a Top-5 defense this year but was decimated by injuries early, including games missed by All-Pro defensive end Cameron Wake and cornerback Dimitri Patterson. While Patterson may not be available Monday night, the rest of the defense should be and they are not wasting time in getting back into shape.
Wake had three sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a game-winning overtime safety last week. The Dolphins, as a whole, had two additional sacks and three interceptions, including one from Patterson. Wake, and the rest of the defense, are going to be looking for more this week.
Birth of a running game
The Dolphins found a running game last week, and it was beautiful. While the Buccaneers have a good rush defense, the Dolphins don't need to have a ton of success on the ground. They just need to have the specter of a running game, so playaction pass comes into play and teams are having to remain honest and not just pass rush on every single play. If the Dolphins can establish a running game Monday night - and don't do the Mike Sherman thing of abandoning it as quickly as possible - they should find more success through the air.
WHY TAMPA BAY WILL COVER
Leo Howell is the editor for “The Pewter Plank”. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter @ThePewterPlank.
Running game is back
Early in the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were let down by their rushing attack. Doug Martin would constantly run into walls due to poor blocking and bad playcalling. But against the Seattle Seahawks, a switch was flipped and the Bucs could run the ball again.
With fullback Erik Lorig leading the way, Mike James and the Bucs will be able to pound the ball against a defense ranked 11th worst in the NFL in yards allowed per game on the ground.
Defense has what it takes to stop Miami
Darrelle Revis is getting healthier by the day and that means he's more and more capable of locking down an opponent's No. 1 receiver. This week, that means going up against big play-capable Mike Wallace. Keeping Wallace under wraps will help the Bucs keep the game in front of them on defense and allow their other star defenders to do what they do best.
The Miami running game will be no match for linebacker Lavonte David and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, and the short to intermediate passing game will be largely contained by safety Mark Barron. This has all the makings of a close low-scoring game.
Rise of Mike Glennon
After making at least one brutal mistake in his first few starts at quarterback, rookie Mike Glennon has settled in under center and can now manage the offense with poise and consistency. He's been able to take what the defense gives him and methodically move the ball down the field with the help of his running backs and tight ends.
The Dolphins have a solid pass defense, but so did the Seattle Seahawks and Glennon had his best game as a pro against the "Legion of Boom." Expect a solid performance to keep the game close from the rookie signal caller from North Carolina State.
Join the debate. Who covers Monday night: Dolphins or Buccaneers?