Growing up in Gold Country, the 49ers have been the flagship franchise in the Bay Area. The Raiders weren’t even here for much of my childhood, so I don’t count them as the true team in the area until they moved back.
Seeing the red and gold would frankly make me cringe, so it was easy to root for Marino and the history of the Miami Dolphins.
That being said, the Miami Dolphins are on a roll having won 5 straight games, three of them in the fourth quarter.
The 49ers on the other hand have found themselves on a 9 game losing streak. That’s right, nine.
Until Eddie DeBartolo, the 49ers were awful. Until Joe Montana arrived, the 49ers were newspaper worthy over the eyes.
Right now with head coach Chip Kelly, the Forty Niners are playing decent, but not finishing games and not doing enough to win.
After Kelly showed confidence in Blaine Gabbert, he turned to Kaepernick to lead the team out of the fog. It has yet to happen even though, I’d argue that Kaepernick is playing as best as he can with a lack of talent around him.
Gone is Michael Crabtree. Gone is Frank Gore.
The 49ers are basically a stripped down version of their former selves. One with a quarterback who’s trying to find a way out who was nearly traded to Denver, but then came back from a devastating knee injury. Kaepernick looks like he went vegan, but he probably hasn’t lifted as much as his upper body physique has changed.
As far as the Dolphins, they haven’t played the 49ers since the 2012 season. The last time they faced Kaepernick, he broke contain and ran for a long 50 yard touchdown on a zone read.
The Dolphins again will be facing their 6th 3-4 scheme of the season. They’ve run well versus the 3-4 scheme winning versus Pittsburgh, Buffalo, the Browns, the Jets, and Chargers. The only team they didn’t beat with the same scheme, the Patriots.
Next, Tannehill even though he’s only thrown for 10 TDs, he has a 6-4 record on the season and only one turnover in 5 weeks. Just one. Not to mention, Gase has found success in running the ball so Tannehill doesn’t have to constantly do everything. For that reason, AJ Ajayi will be a focal part of the offense who can get to that second level quickly and make the defense gasp for air in the fourth quarter. It’s Ajayi who gets more powerful late in the game and has been a major difference maker with just his presence on the field.
What’s more, Tannehill has been much more consistent. He’s shown more poise in crunch time having lead the Dolphins to 4 comeback wins this season. Clutch right now should be his middle name.
In recent weeks, DeVante Parker has become his favorite receiver as he’s made catch after catch when his number has been called. Without Eric Reid, the 49ers best safety, he should have a big day in front of the home fans at Hard Rock Stadium.
The only thing that is an advantage for the 49ers is their kicker Phil Dawson who’s stayed consistent in the NFL and has been the model of longevity and endured losing when he was with the Browns.
Right now, the Dolphins are getting so much production out of the red area, that kicker Andrew Franks hasn’t been tasked to kick.
Dolphins offense v. 49ers Kaepernick : Advantage Dolphins: the running game will have a major impact on the 49ers defense.
Dolphins Defense v. 49ers Defense: Cam Wake is playing like a 25 year old even though he is north of 30 years old. Ndamukong Suh alternatively has been the run stopper and stopped big plays from happening on most series’. Earl Mitchell should have another big game and will be there to stop Carlos Hyde.
Special Teams: Advantage Dolphins (two kick returns, 1 punt (Grant) 1 kickoff (Drake).
Coaching: Chip Kelly versus Adam Gase (Gase all the way) we know Gase has been preparing for the 49ers since his flight back to Miami. There isn’t anything he doesn’t know about Kelly and I’m sure he payed attention to all Dolphins film from last season, especially when they faced the Eagles. I’m sure he watched Brady dismantle the 49ers without Gronk. I trust Gase this week versus the 49ers as he’s very detailed in his approach. I expect a better game plan this week than last week.
At this point I’m going to say the Dolphins win big and it won’t be close. Dolphins 35 49ers 10.