Miami Dolphins (5-3)
Schedule so far
Week 1 - vs. Patriots - won, 33-20
Week 2 - at Bills - lost, 29-10
Week 3 - vs. Chiefs - lost, 34-15
Week 4 - at Raiders - won, 38-14
Week 6 - vs. Packers - lost, 27-24
Week 7 - at Bears - won, 27-14
Week 8 - at Jaguars - won, 27-13
Week 9 - vs. Chargers - won, 37-0
Reason for optimism
Although Miami is playing well, the Lions are coming off of their bye week, and they are expected to be a much healthier team. The likes of Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, Joseph Fauria, Brandon Pettigrew and Eric Ebron could all return this week, giving the Lions a big boost and a full set of weapons on offense for the first time in a long time. What's more, with the NFL's top defense getting Kyle Van Noy back, that unit could be even better going forward.
Reason for pessimism
The Lions may be getting healthy, but they're running into a team that just dismantled the Chargers by a score of 37-0. The Dolphins have now won three games in a row, and they're playing some of the best football in all of the NFL. Miami is actually third in the NFL in total defense, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been playing at another level as of late. The Dolphins look like a complete football team right now.
Storyline to watch
The Lions are going to kick off a very difficult second half of the season with this game. After hosting the Dolphins, the Lions have to go on the road to play the Cardinals (7-1) and Patriots (7-2), so it is extremely important for them to come away with a win on Sunday at home. If the Lions are unable to beat the Dolphins, they could very easily head into Thanksgiving with three consecutive losses.
For more on the Dolphins, check out The Phinsider.