After pulling off an upset victory in week one over the Cardinals in Arizona, the Patriots return home for their first home game of the regular season. They will have the division rival Dolphins coming into town and this will certainly be an interesting one to watch. While the Dolphins lost against the Seahawks in week one, they kept it close and also provided a ton of pressure on Seattle's offensive line. But we are going to look at another match-up that could have a big impact on how Sunday's game goes. This week, it'll be Jarvis Landry against Justin Coleman.
Jarvis Landry is Miami's key slot wide receiver and arguably their best play-maker on offense. Through his first two seasons, he has accumulated 194 receptions, 1,915 yards and nine touchdowns. He has progressive gotten more involved with the Dolphins offense and it looks like that will be again be the plan even with a new coaching regime for Miami.
With DeVante Parker questionable to play, Landry could see a lot of targets on Sunday. He will go up against Justin Coleman, the Patriots primary slot cornerback. Coleman came over to the Patriots (for his second go-around) in 2015 after being claimed on waivers and quickly would win the team's starting slot cornerback role.
Landry was targeted 10 times last week, coming away with seven receptions for 59 yards. So it is clear to see he still has a very prominent role on this offense and will be a big chain-mover for the team as well. Coleman also had a big game in week one, as he primarily covered John Brown and gave up no completions on three passes thrown his way. Of those three incompletions, two of them were pass break-ups by Coleman himself. So both Landry and Coleman are coming over impressive week one performances and will have the chance to duel on Sunday.
Both match up well at the height challenge, with both being 5'11" along with Coleman having a 31 and 1/4 inch wingspan while Landry has a 31 and 3/4 inch wingspan. Coleman has been particularly effective in the slot cornerback position because of his above-average tackling ability and overall aggressive style of football, especially in press coverage. Landry is a near-elite route runner who does well in contested situations, which will be interesting to watch considering Coleman's aggressive style of play. Coleman's ability to mirror receiving routes and stay close with his player will be a key attribute in determining this match-up.
In the run game, Landry is not afraid to block who he is matched up and Coleman has shown the ability to contain the run game from going outside. This will be something else to keep in mind as well as we watch the game on Sunday.
But as this has the makings of a potentially high scoring game, it'll be most likely that the Dolphins are forced to pass a good amount to keep up with still-dangerous Patriots offense. We can definitely expect Landry to see around eight to 12 targets on Sunday, especially if Parker is forced to miss another game. It'll be a big test for Coleman as Landry is one of the more elite slot wide receivers in the NFL who finds ways to get open over the middle of the field.
While Landry may not be expected to play every single at slot, he played over 75% of his 2015 snaps at slot. That means that for the most part, it'll be Coleman on Landry for most of the game. With the Patriots boasting strong depth all along their secondary, the team may game-plan more around keeping Landry contained. If that is the case, we could see some double-teams on Landry as well from one of the safeties.
The Dolphins tight ends are being used mostly as blockers with not many opportunities in the passing game. And along with Parker being questionable, Kenny Stills and Leonte Carroo fill out the other starting wide receivers spots. They weren't utilized as much as Landry in week one, with the two of them only combining for seven targets all game.
The Dolphins game plan in general may be to focus on exploiting the loss of Dont'a Hightower by running the ball more with Arian Foster. But in the pass game, expect Jarvis Landry to be the focal point and the wide receiver targeted most by Ryan Tannehill. Coleman may have his hands full with Landry this weekend, but he will definitely hope to carry over his great performance in week one to this weekend against Miami.