Here are our five things to watch for Sunday's Eagles-Dolphins game:
Who’ll Stop the Run? The Dolphins, like the Seahawks last week, are a run-first offense. If you can shut down their ground game, your chances of victory increase significantly. But that’s a big if for a bad-tackling Eagles defense that had considerable difficulty getting its arms around the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch last week. Reggie Bush had a career-high 22 carries in the Dolphins’ win over the Raiders.
Ho, Ho, Ho. The Eagles have been in a Christmas-giving mood since the start of the season. They have a league-high 29 giveaways. They’ve lost just one fumble in the last seven games, but have more than made up for it through the air. Vince Young threw eight interceptions in his three starts. Michael Vick will be back this week, but he’s not exactly Mr. Ball Protector. He’s 26th in the league in interception percentage.
Fourth Quarter Survival. The Eagles, who have blown five – count ‘em, five – fourth-quarter leads this season, will be going up against another team Sunday that hasn’t exactly shined in the final 15 minutes of games. The Dolphins have been outscored 85-38 in the fourth quarter this season. The Eagles have been outscored in the fourth, 95-48.
McCoy’s Workload. LeSean McCoy continues to lead the NFL in rushing despite the fact that he’s had more than 17 carries in a game just once in the last five games and only four times all season. Andy Reid’s preference for taking the path of least resistence likely will mean a small running workload for McCoy Sunday against a Dolphins defense that is fifth in the league against the run and has held its last six opponents to 3.1 yards per carry.
Who Cares? These are two 4-8 teams going in different directions. The Dolphins opened the season 0-7, but have rallied to win four of their last five. The Eagles have lost four of their last five and looked like a team that can’t wait until the season is over in last week’s ugly loss to the Seahawks.
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