Indianapolis, IN - The Colts and Dolphins face off on Sunday in what is expected to be a very tightly contested game. There are three players from each team that needs to step up in order for their teams to come away with a win. Obviously, there are more than three players that need to step up, but these are the three from each team that are especially needed.
Miami Dolphins Key Players
Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback
Tannehill is in his second year and there is no doubt excitement surrounding him in Miami. He’s got a strong arm and a great head on his shoulders. Miami hasn’t had a franchise quarterback since Dan Marino, and this is the closest they’ve come to feeling comfortable labeling a guy as their franchise QB.
In this game against the Colts, he’s going up against a play-making secondary just waiting on him to make a single mistake. With ball hawks like Greg Toler, Antoine Bethea, LaRon Landry, and former Dolphin Vontae Davis, he’ll have to be on his best game in order to defeat this defense. He’s definitely got the targets and talent to do so, but they’ll need him to step up and actually do it on Sunday.
Mike Wallace, Wide Receiver
Wallace had a very disappointing debut with the Dolphins with just one catch for 15 yards. The Dolphins are planning to work harder to get him more involved in the gameplan, and you can expect him to have a much bigger game in Week 2. He’ll be going up against the Colts’ number one corner Vontae Davis, and it’s certainly a favorable match-up for Wallace.
The Dolphins are going to throw the football a good amount on Sunday, and Wallace will need to put up a good performance for the Dolphins to play at their top level. Indianapolis doesn’t have a great run defense either, so having the ability to run the football will open up the game for Wallace and the aerial attack. This game should be a very interesting one to watch Mike Wallace try to figure out his role with the Dolphins.
Cameron Wake, Defensive End
Wake had a very productive game in Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns. He was able to shred through the Browns’ offensive line and sack Brandon Weeden 2.5 times, picking up where he left off last season. The Colts have a growing superstar quarterback in Andrew Luck, and the only way to rattle him will be to put pressure on him. If Wake is able to have a big pass-rushing game and put Luck under pressure, the Dolphins defense has the chance to force mistakes. All it takes to win a football game is forcing one or two mistakes. Keep an eye out for Wake going up against a weak Colts offensive line.
Indianapolis Colts Key Players
Andrew Luck, Quarterback
As will be the case in just about every single Colts game this year, Andrew Luck will have to step up for Indianapolis each and every game. This week against the Dolphins, he’s expected to put up good numbers against a secondary who isn’t known for their play-making ability, but he is going up against a strong pass-rush from a very talented Miami defensive line.
They will need Luck to make plays in the passing game and also continue his week one performance on the ground as well. There’s no doubt that he’s one of the brightest up and coming stars in the NFL, and this will be yet another test to figure out how much he’s improved from last season.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Running Back
With the season ending injury to Vick Ballard, the Colts will rely heavily on Ahmad Bradshaw in Week 2. Bradshaw will receive help from both Donald Brown and Kerwynn Williams, but there’s absolutely no doubt that he’s the clear number one running back for the Colts. Andrew Luck needs as much help relieving the pressure off of the passing game, and that is exactly why the Colts need production on the ground.
This week the Colts will rely heavily on the passing game, but Bradshaw will be asked to rush the football a good 15-20 times more than likely. They need him to pick up positive yardage to make the Dolphins respect the ground game as well. He’s still getting back to form after his foot injury from last season, so we’ll have to wait and see just how effective he’ll be.
T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver
Hilton had a disappointing three catches for 20 yards in Week 1, but the coaching staff has made it clear this week that they are going to make sure that he is much more involved in their gameplan against Miami. He’s got great speed which makes him a deep threat, and against Miami’s secondary, he may get some chances to use that ability. Luck and his receivers need to step things up, and this is certainly a game that they will need to do just that. T.Y. has to find a way to step up and make plays down the field for the Colts’ offense to play up to its potential.
This game should be a good one, there is no question about that. The winner will be the team that makes the least mistakes and executes their gameplan better. Look for these six players throughout the game, as they are all major keys to their teams’ success.