The first week of the 2013 NFL season has finally arrived and the Miami Dolphins will kickoff their campaign with a matchup against the Browns in Cleveland.
Since the schedule was released, there has been a lot of debate in regards to this Dolphins-Browns tilt mainly due to the fact that the outcome will have a significant impact on Miami's season. Considering the four games that follow for the Dolphins leading up to their bye, its of the utmost importance that they leave Cleveland with a win in order to avoid an up hill climb in attempts to make the playoffs. If there is ever a "must win" game in Week 1, this is it.
Despite the general perception, this is not a guaranteed victory for Miami. In fact, there is no such thing in the National Football League. The Cleveland Browns are a team on the rise, featuring a second year quarterback with potential, a potent rushing attack and a stout defensive front seven. However, this is a winnable game for the Dolphins and its one they should win after their busy offseason.
Let's take a look at some keys that the Dolphins must execute in order to start the season 1-0:
1) Protect Ryan Tannehill
The Browns front seven will likely have success in containing Lamar Miller, therefore the offensive line must ensure Tannehill has ample time to operate and find a rhythm with his receivers. With the exception of cornerback Joe Haden, there are several holes in the Browns secondary that Miami must look to exploit which is something that can only be accomplished if Tannehill remains upright. Haden will have his hands full covering Mike Wallace, leaving Brian Hartline matched up with Buster Skrine. Skrine struggled mightily last season, especially when covering the boundary, so the Dolphins must take advantage.
Miami will catch a break with first round pick Barkevious Mingo being ruled out with a bruised lung but will still have to account for the likes of Jabaal Sheard and Desmond Bryant. The 24-year old Sheard will likely be the toughest test for Miami's offensive line as he has recorded 15.5 sacks in his first two seasons in the league. While the Dolphins starting offensive line showed improvement as the preseason progressed, it remains a work in progress and will be challenged in the opener.no comments