Dolphins must answer critics

The Miami Dolphins are back in the spotlight, but not in a positive way.

Thanks to the Richie Incognito scandal, bullying and racism have come to the forefront in South Florida. The controversy will have a tangible effect on the field as Miami deals with the loss of offensive linemen paid to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

As a result, the 4-4 Dolphins’ showdown with Darrelle Revis and the 0-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, Nov. 11, at 8:40 p.m. on ESPN carries extra meaning. While fans in the Cayman Islands won’t be deterred from supporting their beloved Dolphins, it might be tough seeing Miami adjust on and off the field with the added scrutiny.

On paper, there’s nothing to suggest the Bucs can pull off the upset. Their offense is atrocious, they rely on a mediocre rookie quarterback in Mike Glennon, and injuries have taken their toll on both sides of the ball. Yet, the setting seems ripe for Tampa Bay to steal the spotlight at home. Look for the Bucs to win their fourth straight head-to-head game with their in-state rivals by three points.

Unlike the Dolphins-Bucs game, there is no looming issue hanging over the 3-5 Washington Redskins battling the 1-7 Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 8:25 p.m. on NFL Network. Robert Griffin III is coming off a gutsy victory over the San Diego Chargers last weekend and that momentum should carry over into a 14-point win.

The real onfield drama should shine on Sunday, Nov. 10, with a pair of meaningful games. Look for Colin Kaepernick and the 6-2 San Francisco 49ers scrape out a six-point win over Cam Newton’s 5-3 Carolina Panthers at 4:05 p.m. on Fox. Peyton Manning and the 7-1 Denver Broncos should win a shootout with Philip Rivers and the 4-4 San Diego Chargers by 10 points at 4:25 p.m. on CBS.