The Miami Dolphins will be spending two weeks at home while facing off against both Los Angeles teams, and in week eight will see Miami go head to head against the Los Angeles Rams. Wide receiver DeVante Parker will be leading the way for the receiving core for the Dolphins while WR Cooper Kupp will be the first option for the young and still developing quarterback Jared Goff and the Rams.
Can Parker Sustain 2019 Production?
This game marks the halfway point in the season for the NFL, and Miami will be hoping to have seen great improvement on both sides of the ball with the multiple additions they have made throughout the 2020 offseason. Parker has been the one consistent bright spot for the Dolphins in their massive rebuild. By week eight in 2020 he’ll show whether or not his 2019 season was just a floof or if his 1,000-yard season was truly him playing at some of his highest potential.
Parker notched his first 1,000-yard season and also played a full 16 games for the first time in his career with the Dolphins in 2019. He also grabbed nine touchdowns during the season, the most in his career. Parker increased his catch percentage in that season by five percent while also being targeted 128 times throughout the year.
More Eyes on Cooper Kupp with Brandin Cooks Gone?
Kupp on the other hand has been a name for L.A. for multiple seasons. He was drafted by the Rams in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft and has been one of their most reliable options during his three-year tenure.
Kupp’s catch percentage has never dipped below the 66-percent mark, and in 2019, he eclipsed the 70-percent threshold. He did so while almost having triple-digit receptions (94).
Aside from a torn ACL that ended his 2018 season, Kupp has remained healthy during his three years, playing no less than 15 games in his other two seasons. During 2019 for the first time in his career Kupp broke through the 1,000-yard and 10 TD mark, finishing with 1,161 yards and those 10 scores.
At the Top of the List on the Wrong Stat
Despite those accolades, Kupp ran into a new problem. Fumbling the football.
He gave up possession of the football three times during the 2019 season, tied for fourth amongst all WRs in the NFL.
Gurley Departure Adds More to Kupp’s Role
With the departure of running back Todd Gurley to the Atlanta Falcons, Kupp will likely be relied upon more than ever. Goff will be going into his fifth season after taking a step back in 2019 and L.A. will be keeping a much closer eye on him as he enters the first year of his lucrative $134 million dollar contract.
Tagovailoa’s Redshirt Likely, Fitzpatrick Starting
The Dolphins on the other hand believe they have drafted their quarterback for the future in Tua Tagovailoa. Miami will most likely let Tagovailoa redshirt throughout his rookie season to both allow him to learn the ropes and fully recover from his hip surgery.
With that being said, we again look to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. He’ll be leading the offense for the Dolphins and has proven to be able to handle that role on a consistent basis on many different teams. Fitzpatrick and Parker developed a good connection during their first season together and both will be better at knowing what to expect from each other during next season.
Parker, Kupp to See Ramsey, Howard, Jones
Both Parker and Kupp have remained the No. 1 receiving options amongst their teams for the majority of their careers. The Rams still have an all-pro cornerback in Jalen Ramsey who will likely be shadowing Parker all over the field.
Miami on the other hand has Xavien Howard who had a breakout 2018 season, but fell victim to injuries in 2019 which slowed his development. He should be mostly recovered for the start of 2020, making him a ‘go’ for week eight, and will play opposite free agency CB acquisition Byron Jones.
Kupp to Outplay Parker
Kupp should still likely have the better game of the two, much of that coming because of the extended rapport between Goff and Kupp. L.A. has other receiving threats, like Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds, to go along with a potential two tight end set. Even though Howard and Jones are the two highest paid corners in the NFL, they can’t cover five guys.
The Rams also have the better secondary of the two teams making it tough for Parker, who will have all eyes on him, to consistently be able to break coverages against the Rams secondary.