Tonight the NFL will kick the season off with the Baltimore Ravens traveling to Denver to face the Broncos. It should be a great game and one that some predict will be a prelude to a 2013 Playoff match. For the Dolphins it’s a trip to Cleveland to take on the Browns in game that in some respects represents a must win for Miami.
I know, a must win in week one is by far a stretch but Cleveland is the weakest opponent the Dolphins will face in the first five weeks of the season. Losing to the Browns could spell an early disaster. In addition and more likely a result of a loss to the Browns, the Dolphins will see a staggering drop in ticket sales. If Miami can’t beat Cleveland many fans, right or wrong, are going to go crazy and they won’t likely turn out to support the team.
The game itself is a close match-up. Both Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weedon are entering their 2nd NFL season and while both teams have solid defensive lines the Browns are better on the offensive line. Where Miami has WR’s, the Browns are better staffed at RB where Trent Richardson returns for his 2nd season.
The Browns will be missing a key player on both offense and defense. Offensively Josh Gordon will be gone as he serves an early season suspension and defensively Barkevious Mingo will not play either.
Miami is dealing with injuries of their own as well. Rookie Will Davis and Jamar Taylor are both questionable for the game as is Jonathan Freeney on defense. Dion Jordan is expected to play and will likely be limited but the other Dion, Dion Sims may not line up at TE on Sunday. Leaving only Michael Egnew as the true TE. That will not bode well for the Dolphins against a strong pass rushing defense like the Browns.
The game could come down to a field goal where Miami will use 5th round rookie Caleb Sturgis and the Browns will use Billy Cundiff who was signed on Tuesday.
We will have more on this weekends opening shot as the week draws to an end.