Century Link Field, Seattle, WA
Announcers: Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts
The Miami Dolphins begin their 2016 journey under Adam Gase, in arguably the hardest place to play football, Seattle. The Seahawks boast a ridiculous 27-5 record in their last 4 years at home. The battle of two 2012 Quarterbacks will also take place, where one has risen to the cream of the crop of the NFL, while the other still has many question marks. This game has blowout written all over it on paper, BUT, it's week one. Anything can happen, here is my take on what needs to happen to potentially pull off an amazing upset:
1. Show your identity early- The identity of this team has been labeled soft under the Joe Philbin Era. Adam Gase has brought a new fire to this team. The team was not lacking confidence throughout the preseason and believe they can win on the road. If you want to get an understanding why this team isn't soft? There is a report that surfaced that Jay Ajayi didn't take the demotion very well at all, in fact, he reportedly was sulking over the demotion. Adam Gase left him at home this weekend. They need to get out on the field and not back down from a fight. Show your fight early and often and force your will on the Seahawks. You come out soft, this game will be a blowout.
2. Run your offense- Miami has shown the kind of offense they will be running. Fast pace, quick hitting, wear your opposing defense down. Miami needs to open the game with a nice drive, put some points on the board. Three and outs were the theme last season. If you go into Seattle and continue to do that, Miami will be playing from behind. They CANNOT let Seattle dictate the pace of this game. This team isn't built to play from behind.
3. Will the real Running Backs Please Stand Up- Ajayi sulking (benched). Arian Foster is coming off a torn Achilles and will be forced to handle the load tomorrow versus a vaunted Seahawks defense. Behind Foster, Damien Williams and rookie Kenyan Drake. If we believe in Adam Gase, one of these other backs not named Foster need to step up. Gase will set up mismatches and exploit a potential weakness in the Seahawks defense. Drake has shown flashes in his only preseason game of the headache he can be to opposing defenses.
4. Win the battle up front- This is going to be a huge test for our new look OL. While we will be missing Pouncey, Steen performed admirably in short time and the staff is high on his potential. The Dolphins OL must keep Tannehill upright, create running lanes and keep the sticks moving. If Albert, Tunsil, Steen, Bushrod and James can produce well, there will be some strong success.
5. That means the Defense too- The Seahawks OL took a huge hit with the loss of Ifedi. After cutting Jahri Evans as well, and the play upfront in the preseason, this is a huge advantage on paper for the Dolphins DL. Why on paper? We haven't seen this group produce. Wake will be a situational pass rusher this season which means Andre Branch and Jason Jones need to step up big, Mario Williams needs to play with a drive and Suh just needs to be Suh. Contain Russell Wilson, stop the run and produce turnovers. The keys to victory!
This game has the biggest point spread in the NFL @ 10.5. Miami is viewed as a bottom dweller team coming into the season. Go into Seattle with swagger and play hard. You earn respect by winning games and being very competitive, but the winning part may be difficult this week on the road.
Seattle 27 Miami 20