By Abraham Gutierrez
It’s safe to say that most South Florida pro football fans were glad to see the Miami Dolphins win their 2015 NFL season debut against the Tennessee Titans, 38-10, last week. Okay, fine, so that wasn’t Miami’s first game of the new campaign, however, one thing is for sure: in no way, shape, or form did those Dolphins resemble the bunch that kicked off the 2015 NFL campaign with a dismal 1-3 record.READ MORE: Police Investigating SW Miami-Dade Shooting
Under new leadership, the Fins dominated Tennessee in every facet of the game, giving Dan Campbell his first win as an NFL head coach and reviving the faith of so many Dolphins fans in the Sunshine State. With a 2-3 mark on the year, the question now becomes: Can Miami keep the momentum going as it returns home looking to continue its climb back into contention, not only in the AFC East, but in the American Football Conference’s playoff picture?
“They played their hearts out and they played for one another, which is the most important thing. They looked like a football team,” said Dolphins head coach Dan Campbell during his post-game presser. “I don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves, that’s just one. That’s one, and we’ll worry about the Houston Texans on Wednesday.”
Texans 2015 NFL Season Record
Much like in the case of the Dolphins, the Texans also started the 2015 NFL season with high expectations. Defensive end, J.J. Watt was the darling of the media heading into the new season, appearing seemingly in every commercial, and was even the featured attraction on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” reality show.
Fast-forward six weeks into the season, Houston is just 2-4 and is now perceived as an afterthought in the AFC playoff picture. And, like so many others before him, Watt’s production face-planted and crumbled to the unreasonable expectations set forth out of training camp.
Texans On Offense
Offensively, out of the four major NFL statistical categories, the Texans have performed well in two, but have underachieved in just as many. Starting with the positives, Houston ranks fourth in passing yards per game (297.8) and sixth in total yards accumulated per contest (393.8).
Under offensive coordinator George Godsey, this team has failed to get any sort of running game going – averaging 96 yards per game (NFL Rank: 22) – and points (21.3 ppg) usually come at a premium whenever this bunch takes the field (NFL Rank: 21).
Hesitant to implement an entire new offensive scheme, Godsey is sticking to the model head coach Bill O’Brien utilized in New England and at Penn State. Much like the Patriots (still), Houston employs formations with multiple tight ends, love pounding the rock and the full back is only utilized on a part-time basis.READ MORE: Centner Academy Reverses Course On 30-Day Quarantine For Vaccinated Students
Texans On Defense
Coming as no surprise, the Texans shine brightest on the defensive side of the football. Their best defensive area is in the total yards department, where they rank 11th in the National Football League, giving up just 348.8 yards per game. Their second strong suit can be found against the pass, where Houston’s “D” surrenders just 239.8 yards per contest, good enough for 13th place in the league.
Then there are the two areas where the Texans have struggled against, which plays right into the Dolphins hands should they play like they did a week ago in the Music City. First, Houston has struggled to contain the running game, as they rank 17th in the NFL, giving up 109 yards per contest. And finally, this team’s biggest deficiency can be found in points per game, as they’ve surrendered an average of 25.8 points through six games.
Texans Players To Watch
Offensively, Campbell and his coaching staff need to prepare for what Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins brings to the table. The third-year pro out of Clemson comes into Week 7 leading the NFL in receiving, tallying 726 yards on 52 receptions and is tied for second place in the league with five aerial touchdowns.
On the opposite side of “The Duke,” there are two players Miami must account for at all times. Of course, everything starts and ends with J.J. Watt, who despite the fact that he’s underachieved by his standards, has still registered 28 tackles on the year, along with 4 sacks.
Having no such problems in the tackling department is Texans inside linebacker, Brian Cushing. In his seventh season out of USC, the 28-year-old from Park Ridge, New Jersey, leads the team with 52 tackles, which is good enough for seventh place in the National Football League.
Texans vs. Dolphins 2015 NFL Point Spreads
Following Miami’s big win at Tennessee, NFL oddsmakers have jumped ship, as they’ve now listed the Fins as betting favorites at home in Week 7. The latest NFL Week 7 point spreads indicate that the Miami Dolphins [-4] will return home as four-point favorites versus a visiting Houston Texans [+4] team that will enjoy a two-safety cushion at SunLife Stadium. Also worth noting is the final tally betting experts anticipate will be posted on the board, as the OVER/UNDER for this pivotal game is set at a combined total of 43½ points.MORE NEWS: Pembroke Pines Police Say No Credibility In Viral Online School Threat
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com and other online publications.