The Houston Texans present an unusual challenge for the Miami Dolphins. The Texans are one of only six teams the Dolphins have a losing record to since the inception of the franchise in 1966. Most of the teams have only a marginal advantage in the win – loss column, but that cannot be said about the Texans, a team the Dolphins have yet to defeat in six tries.
It seems the teams Miami fans hate the most are found in yellow on this list. The Jets have an inexplicable five game lead in the win column. Both New York City teams, the hated Oakland Raiders, along with the Steelers and the Browns are among the teams with more victories.
The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins have had epic showdowns, with the likes of Ken O’Brien matching touchdowns with Dan Marino. Marino even lost a game to the Jets when throwing a career high six touchdown passes. The Dolphins and the Giants have not met often enough to call it a distinct advantage.
The Steelers and Dolphins have met in the past to decide which team would go to the Super Bowl. The Raiders knocked the Dolphins out of returning for an unprecedented fourth straight Super Bowl and a chance for a third straight victory.
None of that accounts for why the Texans have had Miami’s number, what is it about Houston? It also does not account for why the two teams have met five times in the past six years. The mystery that is the NFL schedule makers has been trying to get Houston into the playoffs for years and it comes at the expense of the Dolphins.
Miami has played the Texans tough, last year losing 23 - 13 to a Houston team most thought was superior. In 2009 the Dolphins lost 27 - 20 again to a team many picked to go deep into the play-offs and some had contending for the Super Bowl. The strangeness of this match-up came in the first four meetings, which the Dolphins lost by an average of less than two points...
The scores don't even look right, 17 - 15, 22 - 19, it's almost like the great Gods of Football decided the Texans were going to beat Miami even if it was decided by a rugby score. The question is, can the Dolphins compete with this Texans team?
The thinking is, Wade Phillips is going to show rookie Ryan Tannehill more looks than his experience can handle and if the Dolphins have a chance, it will have to come on the defensive side of the ball. Vontae Davis may have had an attitude, but when the Dolphins are only carrying four cornerbacks into a game with Andre Johnson and his 9,656 yards receiving with 52 touchdowns, the Davis trade looms large.
This is where the game hinges for Miami. The Dolphin front seven will have to dominate the line of scrimmage if they hope to protect the thin secondary. Controlling the line will shut down the rushing attack and force the pass, then a fierce pass-rush will cause mistakes. The spread for this game is at 13 points and rising, no one is betting on the Dolphins, but those "sharps" out there with a little acumen will recognize the spread between these two teams has never been more than 10 points.
The phrase, "God's Green Earth" comes to mind - as in, "not on God's Green Earth" will the Dolphins beat the Texans on Sunday. The "GGE" is used only in extreme circumstances but once invoked, the "GGE" is a powerful talisman... There is simply too much going for the Texans for them to take their opponent seriously and that is the Miami advantage.
Houston is already looking past the Dolphins and there is no reason why they shouldn't, it is psychologically impossible for them to take Miami seriously. The Dolphins can win this game with only one ingredient, intensity. Intensity is always the overlooked factor in all NFL games because the team that wants it more at this level is the team that wins.
The "GGE" has been invoked in the form of the Miami Dolphins coming to play like an over-matched band of hellions, with nothing to lose...