After a grueling seven-month wait, American football aficionados are absolutely thrilled that Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season is finally upon us.
The Miami Dolphins have a tough chore ahead of them after traveling northwest to take on the mighty Seattle Seahawks in their own building, which is known for providing one of the premier home field advantages thanks to the fans that make up the famed “12th Man” in CenturyLink Field.
While the Dolphins undoubtedly improved over the offseason after a disappointing 2015 campaign, most NFL experts are certain Miami will be in deep trouble this weekend against Russell Wilson’s bunch, which is understandable. But how bad could things really get in Adam Gase’s debut as head coach of the Dolphins?
Find out with these five bold predictions.
Ryan Tannehill Pulls A Vanishing Act
I firmly believe Ryan Tannehill will ultimately have a bounce-back season in 2016 after floundering last year, but I don’t expect him to have much luck against what can only be described as an overwhelmingly intimidating defense in Seattle.
Tannehill might pad his stats late in this game while playing from far behind, but will look lost throughout and likely commit a number of boneheaded turnovers.
Russell Wilson Electrifies
With Marshawn Lynch retired, Russell Wilson is now in complete control of Seattle’s offense. While the Seahawks will likely do a fair amount of running with the combination of Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls, Wilson will most assuredly do an abundance of passing early on in this one against Miami’s suspect secondary.
It would surprise me if Wilson doesn’t finish with over 350 total yards and three total TDs in what projects to be a long afternoon for the Dolphins defense.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 5, 2016
Arian Foster Posts Surprisingly Solid Stat Line
Now that the Dolphins have elected to leave RB Jay Ajayi back in Miami as a healthy scratch, it’s clear the oft-injured, but incredibly explosive veteran Arian Foster is going to get every chance to prove he’s got plenty left in the tank.
During a recent interview with ESPN.com, Foster was excited about his new opportunity and believes the widespread talk of his demise has been prematurely reported.
“Any time you get the luxury of coming out here and doing what you love for a living, it’s always awesome,” Foster said of making his regular-season debut. “So I guess in that sense it’s special. But I’m just another chess piece out there.”
Foster also downplayed his long road back Tuesday: “I wasn’t dead. I had an injury. I’ve bounced back before.”
In order to have any chance against the Seahawks, Miami must control the clock and do its best to limit Seattle’s possessions. It appears as if the Dolphins have made enough improvements on their offensive line (think Laremy Tunsil) to allow Foster to impress with over 4.0 yards per carry and one touchdown, but I wouldn’t expect him to eclipse 100 yards.
Seahawks Defense Forces Three Turnovers, Scores One TD
Seattle gave up the second-fewest passing yards in 2015, and the fewest passing TDs. Meanwhile, Miami was a middle-of-the-road 18th in passing yards, and 19th in passing TDs (24). These trends are a recipe for disaster for the Dolphins.
Being without WR DeVante Parker, who was expected to take a huge leap forward as an NFL sophomore, will hurt Miami as it will allow Seattle to send most of its attention in coverage to Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills.
The Seahawks will likely shut down one side of the field with cornerback Richard Sherman, which will put Tannehill in a hopeless position and force him into bad decisions. Don’t be surprised when Seattle creates three turnovers, with one being taken back to the house.
Seahawks Win By 14 Points At Minimum
The Seahawks are nearly impossible to defeat at home, and the Dolphins were victorious in a measly three road games last season. This simply doesn’t bode well for Miami’s chances, despite some adequate additions over the offseason.
Barring something entirely unforeseen, like Russell Wilson getting knocked out of the game after his first snap, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Miami ends up keeping this one close. Thus, you can expect the Seahawks to win by a minimum of 14 points.
[Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]