NFL Week 9 Energy Rankings: Dolphins rise 5 spots behind protection, Colts hitting stride, Browns tumble


The No. 1-ranked scoring protection within the NFL is …

Not who you assume it’s.

It is the Miami Dolphins, recent off their spectacular and dominating defensive efficiency in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams Sunday. In that sport, the Dolphins harassed Rams quarterback Jared Goff into 4 first-half turnovers en path to a 28-17 victory wherein that they had nearly no offense of their very own.

The protection was that good.

Dolphins coach Brian Flores got here to Miami from New England, the place he was defensive coordinator. Whereas in New England, it was his defensive plan that helped shut down the Rams in New England’s Tremendous Bowl victory two years in the past.

The identical plan was in play Sunday. They lined up in numerous fronts, normally with six throughout, and so they performed a number of zone behind it. They then attacked the empty units of the Rams. 

The outcome was a victory for first-time, rookie beginning quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, despite the fact that he did not play that nicely. The Dolphins are actually 4-3 and clearly within the playoff race and as much as thirteenth in my Energy Rankings. 

When Flores took over in 2019, he had a number of work to do. They stated the Dolphins have been tanking for Tua, however the actuality is that they needed to full an overhaul of the roster, which they’re within the strategy of doing.

You may inform by watching the Dolphins play that they’ve purchased into Flores’ no-nonsense method. It is simpler to do with youthful gamers, which is why there was discuss early final yr that Flores is perhaps shedding a few of the workforce together with his inflexible method.

The truth is he was proper. Weed out the weak, and play on with those that purchase into your beliefs.

The Dolphins play onerous, which is obvious once you watch the tape. The protection is not loaded with top-level expertise, however there may be sufficient of it to make it work. 

Being top-ranked in scoring protection means they’re legit. This week they face a tricky highway check in opposition to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals offense. That will not be straightforward, but when they go that check, the playoffs will probably be way more of a actuality — it doesn’t matter what they do on offense. 

Largest Movers








They’re the final remaining undefeated workforce and so they confirmed loads in coming from behind to beat the Ravens. They’re the league’s most-complete workforce. 7-0-0



They lastly received the passing sport cranked up once more with gaudy numbers, which is sweet to see. They may solely go so far as Patrick Mahomes takes them together with his proper arm. 7-1-0



The passing sport is excellent, which is why Russell Wilson is the MVP proper now. The protection made some strides early in opposition to the 49ers, which is an effective factor. 1 6-1-0



They made it attention-grabbing in opposition to the Giants. Now they face an enormous division sport with the Saints and they need to have Antonio Brown. 1 6-2-0



They must throw it higher in massive video games than they did in opposition to the Steelers. They’re two video games behind the Steelers now, which is not good. 2 5-2-0



That was a big-time victory in opposition to the Patriots, even when it wasn’t fairly. The run protection needs to be higher. 2 6-2-0



They got here off their bye with an excellent displaying in opposition to the Lions. They’re the category of the AFC South proper now. 6 5-2-0



They did not look good on protection in opposition to Dalvin Prepare dinner and the Minnesota run sport. That is not a great way to be heading to San Francisco for a Thursday night time sport. 2 5-2-0



They arrive off their bye with a instantly robust sport in opposition to the Dolphins. They appeared to be hitting their stride earlier than the bye, so they should hope it does not impede the progress. 2 5-2-0



They don’t seem to be blowing groups out, however they’re discovering methods to win video games. They should get wholesome on offense heading into this week’s massive sport with the Bucs. 2 5-2-0



They’ve misplaced two straight and the protection is not excellent. They’ve to seek out methods to hurry the passer going ahead. 4 5-2-0



Occurring the highway and profitable at Cleveland behind an improved protection is an effective search for this workforce. They’re within the playoff race heading into their highway division sport with the Chargers this week. 5 4-3-0



They received Tua Tagovailoa’s first begin, nevertheless it wasn’t due to him. They face a tricky highway check this week at Arizona. 5 4-3-0



They simply can not seem to get something going by way of momentum. The offense regressed in opposition to Oakland. They do miss Odell Beckham. 5 5-3-0



The brief week and lengthy journey appeared to influence them in opposition to the Dolphins. They head to their bye with the dangerous style of that Miami sport lingering. 5 5-3-0



Their quick begin appears to be like to be fading away with two losses in a row. A minimum of the offense received them again into it in opposition to the Saints, which is progress. 2 5-3-0



They could not get a lot of something occurring offense in opposition to the Seahawks till it was too late. Now they must play with out Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle. When do the accidents finish? 2 4-4-0



Their little surge got here again to actuality in a rush with a horrible displaying at dwelling in opposition to the Colts. The warmth is again on Matt Patricia. 2 3-4-0



They’re in first place. That is the excellent news. The dangerous information is that they have not regarded that good in getting there. In some unspecified time in the future, Carson Wentz needs to be higher. 3 3-4-1



Three consecutive losses has them reeling a bit. However is not that the workforce we anticipated to see? 1 3-5-0



Might the late-game comeback in opposition to the Chargers be the second that will get Drew Lock going as their long-term man? He was spectacular within the fourth quarter. 2 3-4-0



They discover new methods to lose video games and in some unspecified time in the future that has to vary. They cannot win the shut ones. 1 2-5-0



They’ve misplaced 4 straight video games, which is difficult to imagine for this group. Is the playoff run over? 3 2-5-0



Successful at Inexperienced Bay, with a mushy schedule coming the subsequent 5 weeks, provides them some hope. Not a lot, however some. 3 2-5-0



That was a formidable victory in opposition to the Titans, which exhibits the place this workforce is headed. Be careful subsequent yr. 3 2-5-1



They’ve confirmed some life since Raheem Morris took over for Dan Quinn. They don’t seem to be lifeless but. 2-6-0


Soccer Group

They arrive off their bye nonetheless within the division race. That is onerous to imagine, nevertheless it’s true. 3 2-5-0



They’re a large number. Getting Andy Dalton again will not repair it both. It appears to be like prefer it’s on to 2021. 3 2-6-0



They arrive off the bye with a watch on subsequent yr. They’re contemplating buying and selling a few of their gamers to get picks, which is clearly look-ahead mode. 1-6-0



They’re making progress, which is an effective signal. They simply must cease the Daniel Jones turnovers. 1-7-0



It will likely be rookie Jake Luton at quarterback. He has a giant arm, which Gardner Minshew doesn’t. However do not win any video games to damage the prospect to get one of many prime quarterbacks within the draft. 1-6-0



They’re midway to a winless season. What are the percentages they get there? Good, proper? 0-8-0


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