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Sun-Sentinel: Who has the edge?

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South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

Who has the edge? Washington Redskins at Miami Dolphins

By Steve Svekis, Sun Sentinel

Dolphins running game vs. Redskins run defense

Perhaps no player on the Dolphins utilized the off week to greater effect than Reggie Bush. Heading into the bye of Oct. 7, Bush hadn’t had a run or reception of longer than 23 yards since before Christmas of 2009. Since coming off the break, Bush has ripped off five plays that have gained at least 27 yards. Still, they need a healthy Daniel Thomas to establish the inside running game, or the same pass-happy play-calling tilt will be required to move the offense (19 of the Dolphins’ first 25 plays in Kansas City were passes as they built a 21-3 lead). Washington allows a gaudy 4.5 yards per rush.
EDGE: Dolphins

Dolphins passing game vs. Redskins pass defense

This is perfect timing for the Dolphins as Matt Moore has been excellent over the course of his past three starts, completing 52 of 78 passes (66.7 percent) for 579 yards (7.42 yards per attempt) with four touchdown passes and only one interception for a passer rating of 100.3. Meanwhile, in the Redskins’ past three games, quarterbacks have completed 56 of 74 for 672 yards with four touchdowns and only one pickoff (115.4 passer rating). Brandon Marshall is on pace for 1,288 receiving yards at 14.0 yards per catch in 2011.
EDGE: Dolphins

Redskins running game vs. Dolphins run defense

The Redskins turned to rookie Roy Helu as their starter in the backfield over Ryan Torain last week against San Francisco. While Torain is a more traditional between-the-tackles runner (running for 135 yards last month against the Rams), Helu is more of a dual threat. The fourth-round pick had 24 touches last week, but only 10 of them were runs (for 41 yards). The Dolphins, meanwhile, have tightened up. In the first four games of the season, running backs averaged 4.31 yards per rush. Since then, that average has fallen to 3.52 a carry. EDGE: Dolphins

Redskins passing game vs. Dolphins pass defense

With Santana Moss out with a broken hand and Anthony Armstrong nagged by a hamstring pull, ex-Dolphin John Beck, who replaced Rex Grossman as the starter on Oct. 23, has leaned heavily on Helu and tight end Fred Davis, who has become one of the league’s underrated tight ends. With Beck smarting from 13 sacks in his two starts on the road, coach Mike Shanahan shortened the passing game and targeted Helu an astounding 17 times against the 49ers. The Dolphins have logged 12 of their 20 sacks in the past three games.
EDGE: Dolphins

Dolphins special teams vs. Redskins special teams

Brandon Fields’ net punting average took a hit against the Chiefs as Dexter McCluster averaged 15.0 yards a return and Fields also found the end zone for a touchback. The 34.2-yard net at Arrowhead trimmed his season average to 40.7, ninth-best in the NFL. Dan Carpenter, meanwhile, has rebounded from a shaky 3-for-6 start to convert his past 13 field goal attempts. Redskins kicker Graham Gano crushed a 59-yard field goal last week, but has missed on four attempts of less than 50 yards.
EDGE: Dolphins


Mike Shanahan returns to the site of his 1999 triumph in Super Bowl XXXIII while coach of the Broncos. Suffice to say, though, that The Mastermind looks a lot less smart nowadays without John Elway, Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe and Rod Smith lining up for him. A Dolphins loss would give them a franchise-worst eight-game home losing streak.
EDGE: Dolphins

Prediction: Dolphins 27, Redskins 13

Copyright © 2011, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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