On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs face the Miami Dolphins. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Miami is favored to win. We welcome Kevin Nogle of The Phinsider — our sister SBNation site covering the Dolphins — for Five Questions with the Enemy.
What’s it like being a Dolphins fan at the moment? From the outside, the Dolphins look like a fun team to watch and root for.
Fun is a great way to describe it. It is also odd, just because we have gotten so used to struggling and seeing built-up expectations never come to fruition. This team is doing things that either have not been seen since Dan Marino, or are even surpassing the Dolphins teams of the Marino era. I know Chiefs fans already understand this feeling, but I think Dolphins fans are starting to enjoy the thought that, no matter what the score or if they have managed to dig a hole for themselves early in the game, Miami is not out of it. They have such a quick strike capability that they seem to be able to get themselves back into the contest at any point.
Watching the team grow has been great. And they are not done, yet. The offensive line and the defense are starting to get their injured reserve players back and that should allow the team to continue to get even better.
Tyreek Hill is obviously the big story of the weekend. Do you think he would have been in the ear of Mike McDaniel this week to ensure he is very much a big part of the game plan?
First, I want to say I think the Chiefs fans got robbed a little with this game in Germany instead of in Arrowhead. It would have been a fun environment to see Hill back in Kansas City.
Hill, as expected, received several questions about facing his former team this week. He seems to be saying the right things, including starting off saying, “ [It is] just another opportunity for me to play the game that I love. Obviously, it will be against the Kansas City Chiefs, but I’m going to treat this week like it’s any other week.”
He continued, “When I look back at that time in Kansas City, I just look back at that time and say, man, just a young guy trying to find himself in the league. I was able to learn from so many guys. I was able to mature so fast because I was able to step into a receiver role and it was a lot. I kind of took that on and I didn’t look back. The coaching staff trusted me there. I absolutely loved every minute of it. I wouldn’t take none of it back. So yeah, it was fun times definitely just thinking back whenever I was in KC.”
All that said, of course I think Hill wants to put up a big day on the Chiefs. He is already a ridiculous piece of the scheme, and it on pace for over 2,100 yards receiving on 130 receptions this season. The Dolphins will be getting him the ball, and will be getting him the ball a lot. Will he be amped up a little more than usual? Probably and I have no doubt the Dolphins will continue to focus the offense around him.
Chiefs fans are more aware than most that when a team has an all-world offense, that the defense can be forgotten about. Can you tell us who are the standouts of the defense?
All-world offense? I like it. Again, not used to the idea of Miami being this good on offense, but I will definitely take it.
The defense started slowly this year, but seems to be coming together. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins has been turning it on the last several weeks after shaking off the rust from not taking part in training camp and the preseason as part of a “hold in” as he looks for a new contract. Now that he is playing back up to his normal Pro Bowl level, the defensive line is starting to play up to their potential.
Your old friend Bradley Chubb has turned into the pass-rusher that the Dolphins thought they were acquiring at last year’s trade deadline. He has four sacks over the last three games and five on the season.
Xavien Howard, who seems to be ready to play this weekend, and Jalen Ramsey at cornerback for the first time will be a nice piece of the puzzle for the Dolphins. Ramsey made his team debut last week after a knee injury led to surgery during training camp. He recorded an interception and a forced fumble in the game.
Safety Jevon Holland should also be in this game after missing last week with a concussion. He is a top safety, but not one a lot of people may know by name yet.
As for some other players who could have an impact on this game, defensive tackle Zach Sieler and linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel. Others overshadow both players at their respective positions, but they just seem to make plays whenever they are given a chance. Sieler works well both as a run-stopper and a pass-rusher. Van Ginkel is ideally a pass rusher, but the team has been moving around all the linebacker positions this year.
Really, what may be the biggest part of the defense this year is Vic Fangio coming in as the defensive coordinator. The defense under Brian Flores and Josh Boyer was designed to be a blitzing system, creating confusion with pre-snap movement and looks while the secondary had man-to-man responsibilities. Under Fangio, it is a much more traditional 3-4 look with zone coverage behind them. They do not blitz as often, but Fangio does seem to be ramping up the blitz in the past few weeks. The Dolphins defense seems to be getting stronger, both as the injured players get healthy and as they finally find comfort in Fangio’s scheme.
The strength of the team is obviously the offense, but the defense is starting to look better and make this a more complete team.
Do you believe that Miami has the advantage over Kansas City because they’ve been in Germany for a few days longer than KC?
That is a great question. The Dolphins clearly want to get into Germany early, get used to the time change, and try to make the week as normal as possible once practices started. The Chiefs wanted to keep things as normal as they could in Kansas City, then get to Germany and deal with the time change. Which plan works better?
I am hopeful it is Miami’s for obvious reasons. The Jacksonville Jaguars seemed to have a better performance in their second game in England this year, probably in part because they were able to spend the entire week in the timezone and get used to it. Hopefully, at least on this side of our discussion, the Dolphins getting the extra time in Germany does make a difference.
The Chiefs are slight favorites. Do you think that’s fair? What’s your best bet for this game and how do you see this clash going?
I actually was surprised by the line. I thought the fact that the Chiefs are the reigning Super Bowl champions and all the success over the last several years would lead to a little bigger line. People do not trust the Dolphins as a true contender because they have lost both of their games against teams with winning records. It felt like this could be a five- or six-point spread and it would make sense.
The Dolphins beat the Denver Broncos by 50 points while the Chiefs lost to Denver last week. Is that part of why the line is this close? Of course, now the Dolphins have to deal with a Chiefs team looking to rebound after the loss and a Patrick Mahomes who is (presumably) not ill.
I will be a homer and say Miami will win this game - but that is not a confidently made prediction. This should be an outstanding game. Analysts are saying this is the best international game ever for the league, and I think they are probably right. This should be the marquee matchup of the week. Hopefully, this game feels like a heavyweight slugfest with both teams taking their best shot and neither team going down.
Be sure to check out the answers I gave to their questions by clicking here.