Dolphins’ climb continues; Josh McDaniels feeling the heat: 3 up, 3 down

Week 10 was wild, as they tend to be the deepest of the NFL season. Below are my top and bottom stock picks after Sunday’s action.

3 up

Miami Dolphins offense

The Dolphins offense is a talking point right now, cutting through opposing defenses with relative ease. Miami’s offense has scored more than 30 points in three straight games as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went a perfect 7-0 in games he started and ended with Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns.

The Dolphins are a multi-dimensional offense, featuring the league’s best pair of wide receivers with a free rushing attack. Mike McDaniels, the offensive lineman and head coach, is planning successful pitches for Tua, who is playing much better than anyone not in a Dolphins jersey thought. He’s making accurate throws that allow Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to sprint through opposing defenses.

With defenses keying the passing game, the Dolphins’ running game has taken off. They controlled the line of scrimmage as they rushed for 195 yards Sunday. They made the Browns defense look silly at times. It’s hard to see who or what can slow down the Dolphins offense right now. They are simply on a roll.

Kadarius Toney

When the Kansas City Chiefs traded for the former first-round receiver from the New York Giants, I was skeptical of his use in the Chiefs offense. His offense is no more or less difficult than most, as the West Coast offensive verb sets his exact route. However, the Chiefs’ is complex with formations, moves, changes and options once the ball is snapped. Patrick Mahomes tends to “fight” new receivers until they are comfortable with each other’s moves. Also, the Chiefs already had a deep receiver room, including second-round draft pick Skyy Moore, who wasn’t getting many touches.

Well, he was proven wrong on Sunday, as Toney appeared fully integrated into the offense against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had four receptions for 57 yards and found the end zone for the first time in his career. Now, these results aren’t Earth-shattering, but they’re important nonetheless. The Chiefs were without kicker Mecole Hardman and lost JuJu Smith-Schuster early in the game.

The Chiefs needed Toney to step up. Also, Toney’s speed and quick twitch is the closest thing they have to replacing Tyreek Hill in this offense. The Chiefs have seen a heavy dose of man coverage this season, which has shut down the passing attack. Toney is the receiver who can beat man coverage, and if he continues to shine in this offense, the Chiefs offense will only get better.

Giants playoff odds

Toney’s former team, the New York Giants, return to the win column with a 21-13 win against the Houston Texans. I have to reiterate, the Giants are not particularly good. They are very well coached, adapt the schemes to the players and play hard football. They have eliminated the mistakes of Daniel Jones, who keeps the chains moving and the opposition with fewer scoring opportunities. The Giants are currently 7-2, the third-best record in the NFC conference.

The Giants have the Lions, Colts and two against the Commanders as their next must-win games. Even if they split them, along with not winning games where they are underdogs, those nine wins should get them into the playoffs. That’s enough for a playoff spot. Yes, the Giants will be a playoff team.

3 Down

Buffalo Bills

The Bills stepped into their home turf for the opening kickoff against the Minnesota Vikings sitting atop the AFC conference at 6-2. Josh Allen, who was day-to-day with an elbow injury, unexpectedly started the contest, which became a Game of the Year candidate. The Bills went up 27-10 and appeared to be on the verge of a win against the seven-game Vikings. Not too fast. The Bills blew a 17-point lead, which included an ill-timed Allen interception and an even worse center trade, as the Bills tried to run out the clock. After the overtime loss, the Bills not only dropped out of first place in the conference, but into third place in their division!

Vikings force Josh Allen to fumble for goal line, score WILD TD against Bills

Vikings force Josh Allen to fumble for goal line, score WILD TD against Bills

The Minnesota Vikings forced Josh Allen to fumble for the goal line and use the timely TD to eventually pull out a 33-30 win in OT.

The Bills have more problems beyond their current standings in the AFC East. They hadn’t scored a second-half touchdown since their Week 6 win at Kansas City. That’s six quarters of second-half football with no offensive touchdowns.

Allen has strangely regressed to throw some silly interceptions, and there’s no telling why. Maybe it’s the elbow, but I doubt it. Speaking of the elbow… Whenever I hear about a UCL ligament in the elbow being stressed, it’s concerning. I know a football throwing motion is a lot different than baseball, and quarterbacks can play with it, but this is not an injury for nothing. It could explode at any moment. Also, if Allen isn’t practicing, that eliminates opportunities to get in sync with the receivers and his coverage unit. The accounts have a downward trend. I didn’t think I would have written this just a month ago.

Josh McDaniels

If the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders doesn’t have access to the facility before reading this article, I’m surprised. Last season, the Raiders made the playoffs after Jon Gruden was fired as head coach. The Raiders added two All-Pro impact players, Davante Adams and Chandler Jones, and retooled other positions on the roster. However, the Raiders are a dumpster fire after losing to the Colts on Sunday to drop their record to 2-7 under the first-year coach.

The Colts had an interim coach in Jeff Saturday, a first-rounder, and hadn’t looked anywhere near a decent team recently. None of that mattered on Sunday. The Colts’ rushing game shut down the Raiders and Matt Ryan was good enough. The Colts allowed just 308 yards to the Raiders offense, the side of the ball in which McDaniels specializes.

The Raiders are just a bad football team and McDaniels can’t seem to inspire them to play well.

Branches of Los Angeles

The defending Super Bowl champs’ season ends after this week, which I doubt anyone thought would be the case heading into this campaign. It’s just been a disaster. Injuries to the offensive line, the regression of Matthew Stafford and poor running back play have made the Rams the least efficient offense in the NFL. Now, the Rams’ top offensive weapon, Cooper Kupp, left the field during Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals with an ankle injury. No cavalry will come to save this team. They are toast to 2022.

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Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his freshman year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.

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