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Chiefs-Dolphins focus points: fixing red-zone issues

What we’re watching as Kansas City travels to face Miami.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On this week’s game preview edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we talked about three focus points on offense — and three on defense — as the Kansas City Chiefs look to stay in the race for the one seed on the road against the Miami Dolphins.

Here are the focus points to watch on Sunday:

Offense

Red-zone improvements

The last couple of games have been a challenge for the Chiefs in the red zone. They’ve generated some big plays (some called back) but when it tightens up closer to the goal line, the troubles have been apparent. Andy Reid has leaned on horizontal stretches and misdirection throughout the year to success — but not recently. It might be time to mix some things up. This will be a fascinating test for this team in the red zone.

Will Miami plan man coverage?

Teams have not had success playing man coverage and trying to blitz Patrick Mahomes. Miami’s defense has been efficient with these looks this season. Brian Flores is an outstanding defensive mind who has had success against Mahomes dating back to his first season as a starter in 2018. He was able to slow the Chiefs offense down through one half of football both times they lined up against the Patriots — where Flores was the defensive coordinator. It will be interesting to see if Miami plays more to their identity or adjusts to account for the explosive potential of the Chiefs offense.

Edge pressure

Mike Remmers came down to earth last week against the Broncos after some serviceable performances at right tackle. The Chiefs will need to hold up outside if they’re going to have success this week against the Dolphins. Keep an eye on former Chiefs Emmanuel Ogbah — who is putting together a nice season a year removed from an injury ending a promising season in Kansas City.

Defense

The Willie Gay game?

Damien Wilson did not practice all week and will likely miss the game against the Dolphins. Is this a week we’ll see an increased role for Willie Gay Jr.? If Wilson misses time, it’s a big opportunity for Gay to grow and develop. His team needs him, and he’ll likely be thrown in the fire. The urgency could accelerate his growth — and perhaps earn him a bigger role for the remainder of the season if he can earn that trust.

Containing Tua

Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is far from a stationary target — showing some escapability to extend plays in and out of the pocket. The Chiefs will need to be mindful of his mobility — staying disciplined in rush lanes to ensure that they can contain the talented quarterback and try and eliminate any explosive plays off-script.

Chris Jones time

We’re in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but Chris Jones should be able to feast on Sunday. The interior of the offensive line for the Dolphins is young in some places and lacks talent in others. There is a potential reshuffling of the line with Robert Hunt move outside this week — and if that’s the case, Chris Jones should be able to wreck this game for the Chiefs. Jones’ success would mean a low-scoring game for Miami.


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