The much-anticipated Week 1 match up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots resulted in disappointment for the Steelers, and the start of a six-game winning streak for the Patriots. In Week 8 on Thursday night, the Dolphins take on the Patriots in Foxboro, and, as strange as it may seem, the Dolphins could end up victorious.
Four short weeks ago, the notion of the Miami Dolphins beating the New England Patriots in Foxboro would have been laughable. A lot can happen in four weeks, however. Joe Philbin was fired, and former tight ends coach Dan Campbell took over as interim head coach. During Campbell short tenure, the Dolphins have won both of their games. One game was by a margin of 28, the other by 18 points.
Sure, their opponents-- the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans-- are not formidable teams, but the Miami Dolphins style of play has become much more aggressive. This style of aggression isn't haphazard, careless, and mistake-ridden; rather, it is a controlled aggression that has allowed the Dolphins to elevate their level of play while leveraging the immense talents of some of their stars.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has gone from frustrated to empowered, a trait that has led to less hesitation in the pocket, more play action, and incredible accuracy. Defensive tackle Ndomokung Suh had been disappointingly unproductive during Philbin's tenure, but has shown signs of improvement, a return to excellence, during the last two weeks.
The battle against the New England Patriots in Foxboro will reveal much about both teams. Are the Patriots in the midst of one of their best seasons ever? Or, will the Miami Dolphins end up a menacing force in the AFC?
The Pittsburgh Steelers do not play the Miami Dolphins this year, but the post-season picture will likely involve the Patriots and the Dolphins. It is too early to start plotting and predicting, but both teams are worth monitoring.