6.Miami @ Cleveland, Outcome- Miami 20 Cleveland 17
A game that features two returning Sophomore QBs in Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill and two Sophomore Running Backs in Trent Richardson and Lamar Miller, should be a game that could determine the season of both the Dolphins and Browns.
After a perhaps disappointing rookie season from Weeden (213.3 passing yards per game, 17 interceptions in 2012), the Browns have incredibly high expectations for the former Oklahoma State Cowboy. Unfortunately though, Weeden will be without his most targeted receiver 2nd year WR Josh Gordon (805 yards, 5 touchdowns) who, according to Mark Podolski of The News-Herald, “was suspended by the NFL in June for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. [Gordon] said he used cough medicine containing codeine, a banned substance, while recovering from strep throat.” Although Gordon will only miss 2 games, his deep threat presence will still be greatly missed in an offense that lost TE Benjamin Watson (501 yards, 3 touchdowns) over the off-season.
One upside for the Browns; their former 1st round pick Trent Richardson, who even through minor injuries still rushed for 950 yards and 12 touchdowns his rookie season. If there is any chance for the Browns to stay close in this game is for new Coach Rob Chudzinski to go to Richardson early and often, even if Miami’s defense comes to play on Sunday.
For the Dolphins, it all comes down to Ryan Tannehill. Can he control this loaded offense and utilize his receiving weapons of former Ram Brandon Gibson and Brian Hartline? Can he set up a connection with Mike Wallace meanwhile establishing a run presence early in the game? Can he recover from his 17 turnovers last season? It will be fascinating to see what comes out of this game for the fins, especially with Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas competing for the starting job after the departure of Reggie Bush to Detroit.
On the defensive side of the ball, both defenses have their strengths and weaknesses, their strengths being their run defenses and their weaknesses being their pass defenses. Where the Dolphins have the advantage is their passing defense with recent acquisition Brent Grimes from Atlanta who could give the Dolphins secondary some much needed help (60 plays of 20+ yards in 2012, ranked 29th in the NFL). This game should have scoring, how much I’m not too sure, but if the QBs play their best, we could be seeing a tight one up in Cleveland.