It's finally here, the 2013 season, and the Miami Dolphins will begin their 2013 season in Cleveland with a 1:00 kickoff against the Browns.
Miami comes into the game with high expectations after coming off a surprising 7-9 season with 1st year coach Joe Philbin and rookie QB Ryan Tannehill, and adding in much needed talent and speed on both sides of the ball during the off season. The Browns are coming off a 5-11 season as they also featured a rookie QB in Brandon Weedon, and they will also have a 1st year head coach in 2013 as Rod Chudzinski was hired to lead the Browns.
Both Miami and Cleveland will look to improve on the offensive side of the ball, as they ranked 27th and 25th respectively in total offense. Both teams averaged less than 20 points a game, as the Dolphins scored 18.0 points per game, the Browns came in at 17.4. And while the defenses ranked in the bottom half of the league in total defense at 21st and 23rd respectively, both defenses ranked in the top 15 in points allowed, with Miami allowing 20 points a game, the Browns giving up 21.6.
As usual, special teams will be big and the Dolphins now feature a new placekicker in 5th round pick Caleb Sturgis out of Florida, as he beat out incumbent Dan Carpenter. Brandon Fields is one of the very best punters in the NFL, and he will need to have a big game. The Browns have a dangerous punt returner in former Miami Hurricane Travis Benjiman. Miami has their own dangerous return man in Marcus Thigpen.
Most experts are picking the Browns, but I do believe this is a much improved team, and I believe the Dolphins win this game 20-10.
Remember to join myself, Rich and The Hen at 7:00 on Phinfever Radio as we discuss the game. Go Dolphins.