New Orleans Saints @ Miami Dolphins, Wembley Stadium, London

Game Preview

Right then, let’s see if I can get this game called quite as wrong as I did the Ravens/Jaguars game shall we? But let’s be honest, absolutely no-one called that Jaguars game correctly and if they say they did, I’d say they were talking out their arse!

As a means of trying to scrape something from my train wreck of a Ravens/Jaguars preview, I did say that Joe Flacco could be the difference in that game and, to an extent, he was. I just thought it might have been in a positive way for him and not the absolute shite that he and his teammates displayed. Ain’t it funny how this mouth-breathing Harbaugh brother is trying to blame the travel to and around the UK for the fact that he got totally and utterly out-coached by the Jacksonville Jaguars organisation. His excuses were totally pathetic and he should be embarrassed!

Anyway, enough about that shower of shite we were subjected to last Sunday and onto this week’s Wembley game between the Saints and Dolphins.

If you’d asked me before the week 3 games which team I thought was going to win this encounter at Wembley I’d have said, with no hesitation, the Miami Dolphins. But, after the week 3 games, I’m now not so sure.

The Saints looked good in their win over the Carolina Panthers and their offense is one that I find myself enjoying as a fan of the game, whereas the Dolphins just looked unorganised and not ready to play. I mean, come on, they were playing the New York Jets and ended up on the wrong end of a 20-6 scoreline.

Jay Ajayi played probably his worst game that I’ve seen since he broke onto the scene last season as he could only manage 16-yards on 11 carries for a seriously not good enough 1.5-yards per carry average.

Jay Cutler looked, well erm, average let’s say. 26/44 for 220-yards with 1TD (in garbage time) and 1INT. He didn’t look great but his receivers weren’t really helping him out as they looked like they’d been to a Cleveland Browns’ receivers training camp for the week!

On defense for the Dolphins I thought Kiko Alonso played well in week 3 and seemed to be in on a lot but other than that, the Jets offense ran up some good numbers on them.

It’s the Thursday before the game in London and I’ve seen a lot on social media about the Saints being over here already – they came over at the beginning of the week – but are the Dolphins even over here yet? I’d hope they are or we might have another NFL London game 1 result on our hands.

It’s very early in the season and the Dolphins are a week behind every other team except the Buccaneers due to the effects of hurricane Irma, but they are looking sketchy for a playoff spot again this year.

Ajayi is on course for a 1,000-yard season and I think he should do his cause good against the Saints defense in this one as we all know it’s their defense that lets them down. With Parker, Stills and Landry in the game for the Dolphins passing offense, things could get difficult for the Saints defense.

I’m not really convinced by either of these teams defenses but both have good offenses, so we could get a shootout. I’d have it as the Dolphins have the better defense and the Saints have the better offense, so things are looking setup for an interesting matchup. A quick look at the stats for comparisons could be a mistake as it has to be remembered that the Dolphins have played one less game.

Miami Dolphins Key Players

For me, the first key player in this game for the Dolphins has to be Jay Ajayi. He’s made himself an important weapon in their offense and it shows when he’s off his game or the opposition takes him out of it. They have good receivers in Parker, Stills and Landry but they all need each other to be playing well to open things up for each other.

Right now Jay Ajayi is missing practices in the run-up to the London game against the Saints due to the right knee injury that has been bothering him this season. He’s expected to play in the game but on no practice and for how long will be determined on the day and how he’s feeling. This could be a big blow to the Dolphins chances of keeping up with that high-octane Saints offense.

Jay Ajayi Miami Dolphins

On defense, it’s difficult to look past Ndamukong Suh as a key player. He’s going to have to be in Drew Brees’ face as often as possible to disrupt that offense and passing game they have going. So far, through the first three games of the season, Brees hasn’t thrown a single interception and has only been sacked three times. These are good stats for the Saints and ones that need to be addressed by the Dolphins defense, starting up front with the likes of Suh.

Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh of the Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints Key Players

Drew Brees is the obvious choice here and he’s the one I’m going for on offense. I love watching this Saints offense and in particular this future Hall of Famer.

The team has put together an improved offensive unit from last season and we all saw what that unit could do. If Brees comes out and plays his normal fantastic game and the supporting cast around him play theirs, I’m not sure the Dolphins defense can stop them.

He has a good backfield of Kamara, Ingram and Peterson and although he lost Brandin Cooks to the Patriots, he’s still making good with new favourite target Michael Thomas and others in the passing game.

At the beginning of the season, I remember some so-called Saints fans on social media (I really need to stop reading all the crap these sports fans write on there – some of the worst people around) F’ing and blinding about their new look OL but I thought, “Huh? That line looks great”, and it has indeed done well so far and will be a big factor in the result of this one.

Drew Brees and Saints offensive line

Now to pick a defensive player as a key to the New Orleans Saints and this game, hmmm. Can I just say the entire defense?

The unit as a whole needs to get back to preseason form. I know, I know, it was just preseason but they looked great. Stuffing offenses and sacking QB’s like it was all going out of fashion.

This whole unit is, perhaps, the biggest factor in this and all of the Saints games going forward. There’s no question that they have a great offense that can put points on the board but it comes down to whether the defense can stop the opposition keeping up with them, and to date the answer has pretty much been a, no.

Rookie LB Alex Anzalone has been the highlight of this unit for me, but I just wish he’d cut his hair, FFS!

Alex Anzalone New Orleans Saints

Score Prediction

Ok, so you’ve made it this far (somehow) and have read and agreed with every one of my opinions on this game, right? Hehe, we’re all sports fans with our own opinions so I’m sure you haven’t at all 😉

Anyway, it’s time for me to get the score of this one as wrong as I got the Ravens @ Jaguars game last week when I predicted something like a 27 – 10 win for the Ravens that turned out to be a 44 – 7 mauling by the Jaguars.

This game is a difficult one to call as I see the teams as equals at this stage of the season. Not only can I not decide on a scoreline but I’m struggling to decide on who I think’s going to win.

I say Jay Ajayi’s knee injury is going to render him ineffective again this week and the Saints offense is going to go to work:

New Orleans Saints 31 – 17 Miami Dolphins

So there you have it. That means it’s probably going to be a close win for the Dolphins over the Saints.