Preview of Week 8 Matchup – The Miami Dolphins versus the Los Angeles Rams: Four Point Stance

by Rick Harriman
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The Los Angeles Rams (5-2) travel back to the East coast for another early match against the Miami Dolphins (3-3) on 11/1 at 1:00 PM ET.

1st Stance: Offense

Throw out almost everything we know about the offense for the Miami Dolphins, it’s Tua time.  Miami made the announcement that Tua Tagovailoa will be that starting QB this week, which was always the plan, but the timing is curious.  The AFC East is still within reach as the Jets are, well, the Jets and the Patriots don’t seem to be the Patriots – looks like it is down to the Dolphins and the Bills and Miami is making a change at a time when Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to be in command of the offense.

Tua was known for his ability for throwing with accuracy and anticipation when he was with Alabama, two critical skills for an NFL quarterback.  He was also tagged with the injury bug, so time will tell how this plays out and facing the Rams defense on Sunday will be a tough ask.  The coaching staff is, of course, saying all the right things and you can expect them to scheme to his strengths – some RPO, spreading the field and keeping Tua on the move.

The Rams offense looked back on track after the win over the Bears last week and the media track is to blame the Bears defense instead of commending the Rams offense.  Call it scheme or execution, they showed up and played well within the game plan, which was to win field position all day and take advantage of it.

The plan against Miami is more dictated by the weather this week than the opponent; with inclement weather forecasted, expect the Rams to give a heavy dose of the running game and to throw underneath and to the TE core.  If the run game is the primary plan, expect more of this:

Big advantage to the Rams this week as the offense can attack from many angles – the Dolphins had the bye week to prepare, but there is simply too much to prepare against this defense as a first start for the quarterback.

Congratulations to Cooper Kupp for becoming the third fastest wide receiver in Rams history to 3,000 yards, only behind Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, HOF company.

2nd Stance: Defense

Miami’s defense was outstanding just before the bye; in their last two games, they have 8 sacks, 4 take-aways and only allowed 17 points (17 against the 49ers and a shutout against the Jets).   The defense is ready for the Rams offense but so was the Bears defense.

The Rams defense has been good all season, but they really showed up earlier this week (yes, this week!) against the Bears.  Look at the top four names on the PFF grades from Monday night:

More from the defense on Monday night:

The tone is set by these two players, obviously, but it is always worth mentioning Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey:

And now the Rams are about to add A’Shawn Robinson to the mix, which will make this a very fun defense to watch:

The Rams defense is very good, especially in the second half and they should feast on the NFL level inexperience of Tua and the weather, as bad as it looks, will actually help the defense bring more havoc.

3rd Stance: Special Teams

In week 8 there are only 5 kickers that have yet to miss a FG this season: Mason Crosby (GB), Chris Boswell (PIT), Wil Lutz (NO), Cody Parkey (CLE) [yes, THAT Cody Parker] and Jason Sanders (MIA).  He and Wil Lutz are the only kickers to be 100% for FGs and PATs, so he is really good – his longest at 52 yards so he is a weapon.

The Rams are starting over with the kicking game.  The Rams let Samuel Sloman go and have both Kai Forbath and Austin MacGinnis (practice squad) on the roster to try to figure it out.  But when it comes to special teams, until the Rams get the kicking game figured out, the Rams will rely on the GOAT to get it done:

Edge in the kicking game to Miami, but field position will be precious, and the Rams have the best in the business.

4th Stance: Intangibles

  • Coaching – Sean McVay versus Brian Flores. Brian has playoff and Superbowl experience as a coach, but not the head coach.  Big edge to McVay and, edge to McVay over one of the greatest coaches in Miami (if not NFL) history?
  • Trend/Mojo – The stock is up for the Dolphins (2 game streak) and the Rams. Push for this week.
  • Post of the week from Jourdan Rodrigue.  If you are not following Jourdan, you are missing out, she is the BEST. If you are not subscribing to The Athletic, you are REALLY missing out as she goes deep into Rams coverage that you should not miss.
  • Key Injuries:
  • Weather at Hard Rock stadium: Mostly cloudy with showers, 85-87 degrees but will feel like 91-93.
  • Random Notes: The NFC West is crazy good the Rams are going to break the streak in the Royal/Royal uniform combo (the worst of the combos). Oh, and the Rams are a bad, bad, BAD team…


The Rams are 3.5 point favorites and the over/under is 45.5 – take the Rams to cover but take the under as the Rams win this one 24-16 in the muggy and wet conditions.

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