NFL Preseason Preview: Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins

NFL Preseason Preview:  Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins

The NFL Preseason kicks off on Sunday night as the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys play in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. As is the case with most preseason games this contest will offer only a taste of the hard hitting pro football action that fans crave–it’ll be contested mostly by backups and prospects trying to earn a roster spot. Despite this, there may be a good betting position on the game.

Handicapping preseason games is drastically different from handicapping regular season games. In the regular season you can assume that the teams involved will make a concerted effort to win–at least in most weeks. This is something you can’t assume during the preseason. Every team will approach their preseason with a different agenda. All NFL teams will want to keep their key players healthy by limiting their playing time though this is often in conflict with the need to get the first stringers into ‘game shape’. Other teams will by trying to learn new offensive or defensive sets, and still others will be trying to evaluate personnel to fill roster spots in key positions. Some teams want to have a winning preseason while other teams just want to make it through the preseason slate with no injuries and could care less about the outcome of the games.

This game will feature a new defensive coordinator in Dallas–Monte Kiffin will be trying to install his ‘cover 2′ defense. This isn’t an easy defense to learn it its success is predicated on having good cornerbacks that can cover the opposing team’s receivers one on one. Dallas’ first string personnel will be struggling to get up to speed on this new defensive set and they’ll see very little playing time here. That means the game will be turned over to backups who are–in theory at least–less skilled *and* trying to learn the ‘cover 2′ system. This should result in a lot of blown coverage situations which should play into the hands of the Dolphins’ offense. The Dolphins will be in the same situation with starters playing limited time but the biggest priority for the team in the preseason is establishing some degree of offensive fluency. For that reason they’ll be trying to exploit the Cowboys’ new defensive scheme as they try to gain confidence on offense.