The Miami Dolphins fell 48-20 to the Buffalo Bills last week, a result that feels more aberrational than anything else. Mike McDaniel and the Phins' high-flying offense will have a chance to right the ship on Sunday when the we're-bad-again New York Giants come to town.
Every reasonable prediction on the internet has the Dolphins winning this game. The Giants have been all sorts of ugly on both ends of the field. Daniel Jones looks completely lost despite his $40 million salary, the defense hasn't held a single team below 24 points, and even Saquon Barkley's possible return feels like trying to stop a flood with a paper towel.
When right, the Dolphins' offense is untouchable. Even the vaunted Kansas City Chiefs don't possess Miami's penchant for coordination, precision, and big-play explosions. Tyreek Hill and Tua Tagovailoa share what appears to be a psychic connection; they're never on the wrong page. The same can be said for Jaylen Waddle. Meanwhile, Raheem Mostert and De'Von Achane have been two of the most productive RBs in the NFL.
So, what can save the Giants? Little short of some very unfortunate circumstances for the Dolphins. Miami placed LT Terron Armstead on the injured reserve Friday afternoon after he suffered a knee injury in the loss to Buffalo. The four-time Pro Bowl tackle won't miss the entire season, but he is out for at least four weeks.
Dolphins are without Terron Armstead for at least four weeks after knee injury suffered vs. Bills
The Dolphins' offense is a carefully constructed and well-oiled machine. McDaniel's squad has its timing down to a science, with Tagovailoa seldom taking long to make his progressions and locate the best available target downfield. An injury to the Dolphins' best offensive lineman, however, has the potential to throw the whole machine out of whack.
Tagovailoa isn't a runner, but he's mobile in the pocket with some talent for extending plays with nimble footwork. Still, he's at his best as a pocket passer, and the Dolphins' pocket could collapse far more rapidly than usual without Armstead to protect the left side. It will require a recalibration for Tagovailoa and the offense as a whole. If the QB's timing is thrown off, the WRs and RBs will suffer too.
Miami also happens to be working a new receiver into the mix after trading for Chase Claypool. There's a good chance Claypool isn't up to speed in time for serious reps this Sunday, but he's another potentially new factor to consider.
The Giants' defensive line might be the worst in football, having recorded the league's fewest total sacks (four) across four weeks of action. So maybe the Dolphins don't have to worry. Still, it's a potential weakness for the Giants to exploit, and surely the defense is motivated to turn this season around before it's too late.
Armstead is expected back for the stretch run, which is the most important bit of news here. The Dolphins look the part of a postseason contender, but it will take a full complement of weapons for Tagovailoa and company to push all the way to the Super Bowl.