Five matchups that can help determine the outcome of Sunday’s tilt between the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins:
D.J. Humphries, LT, #74 vs. Mario Williams, DE, #91 It’s possible that the Cards delayed moving Humphries to the left side to slowly bring him along without overwhelming him against Everson Griffin. Williams is in a platoon with Jason Jones, but remains a dangerous player who can bull rush and turn the corner.
Kevin Minter, ILB, #51 vs. Jay Ajayi, RB, #23 Minter had an effective game against Washington, including an early sack. Ajayi has overcome a makeshift offensive line to become one of the breakout stars of the NFL and is excellent at breaking tackles. Minter’s biggest challenge in run defense is shedding blockers on the way to the ball carrier.
John Wetzel, RG, #73 vs. Ndamuking Suh, DT, #93 Miami’s run defense starts and ends with their defensive line. The ‘Fins are 4th in power situations and 10th in stuffs. Wetzel will get help from A.Q. Shipley, but it might not be enough. If Carson Palmer begins the game with Suh in his face, it could be a long midday.
Marcus Cooper, CB, #41 vs. Kenny Stills, WR, #10 The Dolphins are on the fringe of the playoff picture because Kenny Stills has taken his game to the next level. Stills has had a John Brown-type effect, producing big gains in a limited number of touches. Cooper can’t get complacent in zone coverage.
Ulrick John, OT, #75 vs. Cameron Wake, DE, #91 Even at Age 34, Cameron Wake is a destroyer of men. He has 8.5 sacks this season. If Suh demands additional attention from the inside, John may be forced to play on an island more than you’d want. Look for exotic protection schemes with G Mike Iupati pulling across the formation to help out on the inside.