Well, it's finally here. After a week of stewing over a tough loss to the Jaguars the Dolphins will face the Buffalo Bills in their home opener. Here are some keys to Sundays match up.
Your worst nightmare
Make no mistake about it, the Bills (as usual) are a terrible match up for the Dolphins. All of the strengths of the Bills match up perfectly (or imperfectly) with the weaknesses of the Dolphins. The biggest problem will be the Bills pass rush. Marcell Dareus, Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes are going to be up against a Dolphins Oline that has already struggled to begin the season and will be missing Brandon Albert, arguably the unit's best player.
This is going to be a tough day for young Ryan Tannehill and Bill Lazor will have to do his best to get Tannehill out of the pocket and away from the pass rush. Tannehill is also going to have to hold on to the ball as Mario Williams has a history of forcing RT17 to fumble.
Make Tyrod Beat you (in the air)
While Tyrod Taylor has exceeded expectations simply by winning the starting job, the Bills are a run first team. Lesean McCoy is poised to have a big game against a Dolphins front that has yet to prove capable of stopping a good ground game so far this year. The Dolphins and Coach Kevin Coyle should do everything in their power to stuff the run game and force Tyrod to throw the ball. In the air Taylor (like most rookie QBs) can be exploited and forced into making mistakes. Turn overs could be the deciding factor in this game. The defense has to be alert though, Taylor is a skilled rushing QB and if the Fins lose contain he can burn them for big gains.
This may be more perception than reality, but in recent Bills-Dolphins games, it seems the games always have a key special teams play. Whether it's a blocked kick or a long field goal or a huge return, it always seems like when these teams play, the special teams makes a big impact. Perhaps special teams could be a unit where the Dolphins can actually get ahead. They just have to hope they aren't relying on a long kick from Franks who missed a kick in last weeks game and is generally unproven.
That is all I have in terms of keys to this game. I usually can rattle off tons of ways for the Phins to win on Sundays. Unfortunately, this is as bad as match ups can be. That is why I am picking the Bills come into Sunlife and beat the Dolphins 27 - 13 (ughhhhhhhhh). I always feel terrible picking against the Phins, but you gotta go with your gut. Make no mistake I will be praying that I am very, very wrong.
3 week 3 predictions
Cincinnati 27 @ at Baltimore 19: When ever I pick Cincinnati to do something good they let me down (I call it the Dalton effect), but I am picking them to win anyway. The Ravens haven't started 0-3 in, well, ever. Baltimore has seen nothing but success in the relativity short history of the team and while I expect them to come out strong, I really think the Bengals are finally for real. I expect Dalton to connect along with AJ Green to exploit a week Ravens secondary and send the Ravens to their first 0-3 start in their teams existence. Don't embarrass me DALTON!
Philadelphia 24 @ New York Jets 17: I am picking another Jets game! Unfortunately, for Jets fans I think this is a TRAP! Jets are as confident as they have been since Rex was yelling about making the Super Bowl and the Eagles hardly have wind beneath their wings, but I think that changes Sunday. I know the Jets defense is a terrible match up for the Eagles style of offense, but for some reason I have a feeling it finally all clicks for the Birds and they win one for Kelly just when the world is beginning to doubt them.
San Francisco 21 @ Arizona 31: Not to be a bandwagoner, but i really love the Cardinals as a team this season. We all loved them last season, the problem was they were playing man down.They literally they may have been better off playing with out a QB. This season, with Palmer back, the Cardinals look really good. This pick isn't a knock on the 9ers as much as it is showing support for a solid unit in the Cardinals.
Okay, lets all have a good football Sunday and if you want to follow along as I drunkenly curse my team follow me HERE on twitter!