The Miami Dolphins are entering a very favorable portion of their schedule.
Five of the Dolphins final seven games will be at home and aside from a Week 17 game against the currently unbeaten New England Patriots, Miami’s opponents aren’t exactly scary.
Despite having just a 4-5 record, the Dolphins are still very much in the playoff picture as the two teams holding the AFC’s wild card spots each have four losses, just one less than Miami.
This week the Dolphins will host a Dallas Cowboys team that has lost seven straight games but will get a boost from quarterback Tony Romo, who has missed each of those seven games.
Miami has been a model for inconsistency this season but still have a lot of talent on the roster and could very well put together a strong run towards the playoffs.
Here are the top questions heading into the Dolphins Week 11 home game against Dallas.
How will Tony Romo perform in his return to action?
The Cowboys began the season winning two straight games with Tony Romo as their starting quarterback but they haven’t visited the win column since.
Yes, getting Romo back should bring a huge boost to their struggling offense, but there is no telling how rusty he may or may not be after his extended absence.
Will Miami make more of an effort to get the run game going?
One of the biggest critiques of the Dolphins last season and the first month of this season was that they did not run the ball enough.
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor admitted to shying away from the run game if it didn’t have success early in games.
Recently they’ve tried to utilize the running game more.
Lamar Miller has scored at least one touchdown in five straight games (five rushing and two receiving). He’s ran the ball 70 times for 390 yards during that span, an average of 5.57 yards per carry, while adding 23 receptions for 232 yards.
Miami has also gotten productive play from rookie running back Jay Ajayi, who has played the last two games for the Dolphins after missing the first seven on the Injured Reserve/Designated For Return list.
Ajayi has impressed in limited action, running the ball 11 times for 89 yards. That’s a spectacular 8.1 yards per carry. While he can’t be expected to keep up those kind of numbers, Ajayi has shown that he can be a game changer and should see more carries moving forward.
Can the Dolphins defensive front continue playing well against Dallas’ o-line?
When interim head coach Dan Campbell took over for the Dolphins, they had just one quarterback sack in four games played.
In the five games since then, Miami has racked up 19 sacks including four last Sunday in Philadelphia.
Ndamukong Suh has four sacks in his last four games after not recording any before that. Safety Reshad Jones has a sack in consecutive games as well.
The Cowboys came into the season boasting the best offensive line in football but the unit has not seen the same amount of success that they had in past years.
Dallas has allowed 20 sacks this season which ranks them 17th in the NFL. The Dolphins, who have given up the most sacks in the league since drafting quarterback Ryan Tannehill in 2012, are 26th in the NFL this season after surrendering 27 sacks.
Are Miami’s rookies going to step up again on Defense if they’re called into action?
Last week against the Eagles Miami was dealing with several injuries to their linebacking corps and called upon their rookies to step up and perform.
They did just that, with guys like Neville Hewitt and Zach Vigil standing out and making plays.
Starting linebackers Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins missed practice on Wednesday and are considered day-to-day by Dan Campbell, who said they “will probably be a game-time decision.”
Campbell expressed more optimism about Misi playing than Jenkins, and suggested that Hewitt would start if Jenkins can’t go.
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