Dolphins Watch

December 25, 2010 7:57 PM

Dolphins try for elusive second home win

CALVIN.bmpThe Miami Dolphins are down to their last try to avoid tying the 2007 team for the worst home record in franchise history, and they'll have to beat a Detroit Lions team that last week snapped an NFL-record 26-game road losing streak to do it.

Both teams are out of playoff contention.

The Lions are 4-10 after a 23-20 overtime win against Tampa Bay last week, while Miami is 7-7 after falling 17-14 to Buffalo.

The Lions are down to their third-string quarterback, Drew Stanton, after injuries to Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill. But last week, Stanton played well against the Bucs, completing 23-of-27 passes for 252 yards and a TD.

His main target is Calvin Johnson, who burned Tampa Bay for 10 catches for 152 yards, and who has scored 12 TDs this season.

The key matchup will be Johnson and whomever of the Dolphins' second-year corners lines up against him. At 6-foot-3, Sean Smith has the size to battle the 6-foot-4 Johnson, but 5-foot-9 Vontae Davis has been the better corner this year -- and is the more physical player.

The Lions' top running back, Jahvid Best, is banged up, so career backup Maurice Morris will shoulder much of the load. Last week, Morris gained 105 yards on only 19 carries and scored a touchdown against Tampa Bay's weak run defense.

Of course, defense has been the Dolphins' strong point this season. After holding Buffalo in check last week, Miami moved up to third in the NFL in total defense, and the Dolphins have not allowed a running back to gain 100 yards against them since Chris Johnson back in Week 10.

The Lions don't figure to pose much of a threat running the ball, and I think the Dolphins' defense will be able to pressure the inexperienced Stanton into mistakes. Johnson is too good to be shut down for an entire game, but aside from tight end Brandon Pettigrew, the Lions do not have the offensive weapons to hurt Miami.

I see quarterback Chad Henne finally able to get untracked against one of the worst secondaries in the league, and the defense will do it's part to ensure the Dolphins avoid their worst home record in franchise history.

Dolphins 20, Lions 13.

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