3 Things for the Dolphins to win
1. Take advantage of the Redskins’ poor offensive line. Doesn’t matter who the quarterback is. The Dolphins’ defensive line which features Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon should dominate in this matchup; and by dominate I mean play the run on the way to the quarterback. The matchup between the Washington’s offensive line and Miami’s defensive line favors the Dolphins heavily.
2. Ryan Tannehill must be efficient. With big $$$ comes big responsibility. This is a team the Dolphins should beat going away. With a full complement of receivers, running backs and an improved offensive line it’s time for Tannehill to demonstrate his ability to string together drive after drive after drive together.
3. Make Washington one dimensional. Kirk Cousins has never won a game he has started. He’s turnover prone and he’s playing behind a poor offensive line. The Redskins are going to try to establish Alfred Morris and rookie Matt Jones via the running game. Bottle the run up, score some points early and force the Redskins to play catch-up and put the ball in the air. That will play right into the hands of your fearsome pass rush.
3 Things for the Redskins to win
1. Run the football. Get Alfred Morris going early and work Matt Jones in as well. Slow down that pass rush. Two hats on Suh and pound the rock. Wear down the defensive line, then run it some more.
2. Kirk Cousins has to make intelligent and quick decisions. Get the ball out of your hands and don’t be afraid to throw it away. Avoid the negative plays and give your offensive line and questionable defense a fighting chance by protecting the football.
3. Sound special teams. Too often overlooked the third phase of the game has been the bane on Washington’s existence for the pass several years. The Redskins need quite a bit to go right for them including the kicking game and favorable field position. I can’t stress how poor Washington’s special teams has been in recent years. That has to change starting with their Week 1 matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
What to watch for…
Jay Gruden’s play-calling. Execution certainly was an issue last season particularly with a revolving door of quarterbacks but Gruden got the job because of his offensive mind. Unfortunately, that mind couldn’t find ways to get the ball to Washington’s best receiver, Pierre Garcon. DeSean Jackson is without a doubt the more explosive receiver but there’s no route in the tree Garcon can’t run. Look for Gruden to call lots of 3-step drops and quick passes that should feature Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed to mitigate the Dolphins’ pass rush.
The Front Office Says…
Headley and Juice – Miami Dolphins win.
Strud – Washington Redskins win.