Week 15 will see the New York Giants host the Miami Dolphins. At the beginning of the season this game was chalked down as an easy win by Giants’ fans. But after the team has dropped nine straight games to fall to a 2-11 record, nothing can be taken for granted.
The Dolphins might not be scary, but they are scrappy. They are playing hard for rookie coach Brian Flores. Let’s look at the matchup between the Miami offense and the New York defense.
Stats at a glance
Keys to the game
Can the Giants counter the Fitzmagic?
The Giants will be facing Hall of Fame backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick this Sunday. Now, I talk about the HOF in jest, but has there ever been a better backup quarterback than Ryan Fitzpatrick? Sure he isn’t a much of a starting quarterback, but has ability to always be ready and help lift a team to out-perform expectations. The Fitzmagic never seems to last, but it can also crop up unexpectedly.
Fitzpatrick is not a risk-averse quarterback and will give his receivers the opportunity to make plays, and that presents opportunities for the defense as well.
He is at his best, however, when in rhythm and able to attack the intermediate part of the field. It isn’t a coincidence that he is generally at his best when his yards per attempt are at their highest. When Fitzpatrick is able to find that rhythm and hit the intermediate throws, he will eventually be able to hit big plays. That isn’t great news for the Giants.
What about the Dolphins’ receivers?
The Giants might catch a break and not have to deal with DeVante Parker. Parker left the Eagles’ secondary roasted, toasted, and burnt to a crisp two weeks ago, but left last week’s game early and is in the concussion protocol. He participated in non-contact drills Wednesday, but has yet to clear the protocol. If he is indeed out Sunday afternoon, that would be tremendous news for a beleaguered Giants’ secondary.
But that doesn’t mean they would get the afternoon off, either.
The Dolphins would still have veteran receiver Allen Hurns, a tall receiver who can be a dynamic big play threat, and Preston Williams, a rookie receiver with Day 2 ability but enough questions to go undrafted.
The Giants will also have to worry about second-year TE Mike Gesicki, who, along with the rookie Williams, has been one of the pleasant surprises of the Dolphins season.
This is far from the scariest group of receiving threats the Giants have faced this year, but considering the Philadelphia Eagles were able to consistently move the ball with two, and eventually one, active receiver the Giants shouldn’t be going in to this game over-confident.
Get a pass rush
The Giants have had one of the lowest pressure rates in the NFL this season. Last week Markus Golden got pressure when unblocked (including a sack) and Oshane Ximines beat the Eagles’ backup right tackle for a pair of sacks. But when it mattered, Carson Wentz was either comfortable in the pocket or had enough time to find his receiver.
The Giants simply have to generate pressure this game — a game against one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. The Dolphins have the lowest pass block win rate of any offensive line in the NFL, holding up for more than 2.5 seconds just 41 percent of the time (they also rank dead last in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards for run blocking). What’s worse, no team has given up more sacks on the season than Miami’s 51.
The opportunities should be there for the Giants to generate a pass rush and disrupt Ryan Fitzpatrick. Despite having a low pressure rate and the 21st pass rush win rate (pass rushers beating blockers in 2.5 seconds or less), the Giants have no excuse to not field a pass rush this week.