Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns - Position By Position Matchups

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns rolls out of the pocket against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

With the Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns game 3 hours from now, I thought it would be interesting to look at the game from a position by position analysis.

The Dolphins have taken two hay-makers to the face so far this season, and are wobbling.  But, they have a chance to regain their feet this week.  Cleveland may be 1-1 on the season, but they are 1-1 with a win over a Peyton Manning-less Colts team, and a loss to a really lackluster Bengals squad.

So, this game should be one the Dolphins win.  Right?

Pos Adv  Reason
QB

Dolphins_50t_medium


 

Chad Henne or Colt McCoy.  I have to go with experience here.  McCoy has shown some potential, but so had Henne.  With offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's understanding of McCoy, and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan looking to showcase a defense that has vastly underperformed in 2011, this should fall Miami's way.
RB

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Peyton Hills or a mix of Reggie Bush and rookie Daniel Thomas.  I have to go with Hillis, although his 2011 campaign has not started off all that spectacularly.  Thomas looked really good last week, and will look to continue to impress in his second game.  Bush could be a matchup nightmare for Cleveland.  But, until the offensive line shows me anything, I have to assume the bruising back of Cleveland will be ahead of Bush and Thomas.
WR/TE Dolphins_50t_medium

Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, and Anthony Fasano or Brian Robiskie, Mohamed Massaquoi, Joshua Cribbs, and Benjamin Watons/Evan Moore?  I have to go with Miami here.  If Henne can spread the ball around, and take deep shots, the Dolphins should come out on top.  Cleveland has some talent at WR and TE, and McCoy is getting better at getting the ball to them, but the Marshall, Bess, and Hartline combination is just better.

 

OL Push

The Browns are struggling on the offensive line, especially at right tackle.  They have allowed 3 sacks, and 12 hits on their quarterback so far this year.  On the other hand, Miami has struggled on the offensive line, especially at right tackle.  They have allowed 6 sacks, and 16 QB hits.  I would love to say this is a matchup of Jake Long vs. Joe Thomas, the top two tackles in football, but it's more a matchup of everyone else, and which unit can survive long enough to give their team, and quarterback, a chance.

DL Push

The Browns defensive line has, arguably, been the highlight of the team, especially if you ignore everyone not name Joshua Cribbs.  Meanwhile, the Dolphins have a ton of depth and talent along the line, but they aren't living up to expectations.  I'll go with push.

LB Dolphins_50t_medium

This has to be Miami, right?  Cameron Wake has 2 sacks through 2 games, and, although he has struggled to shed blocks early this year, he's still a threat on every passing play.  If Jason Taylor, who recorded his 133.5th sack of his career, should be adding pressure as well.  The injury to Karlos Dansby worries me, especially since Miami is already showing a difficulty covering tight ends. The Browns' D'Qwell Jackson leads the team with 19 tackles and 2 sacks.  After that, there's Scott Fujita (8 tackles) and Chris Gocong (5 tackles).  Not exactly a top of the line corps right now.

DB Push

Normally I would give this to Miami, but with Vontae Davis out and Will Allen questionable, I can't really justify that advantage.  Sean Smith, who is overlooked by the media, opponents fans, and our fans, is a top flight corner, but behind him there's the ailing Allen, before you get to Nolan Carrol and Jimmy Wilson.  The safeties are a mess as well.  With Yeremiah Bell still trying to figure out who is going to play next to him, the often out of place Reshad Jones or the less than 100% Chris Clemons.  

Cleveland is countering the Dolphins' wideouts with Joe Haden, Sheldon Brown, and Dimitri Patterson.  Back at safety, Mike Adams and T.J. Ward patrol.  While they aren't exactly a scary crew, the Dolphins' secondary hasn't exactly slowed down the passing game yet this year, either.

ST Small_cle_logo80x90_medium

Joshua Cribbs vs. the Dolphins special teams is a scary proposition.  It's pretty simple - the Dolphins can NOT kick it to him.  

Brandon Fields has developed into a weapon as a punter for Miami, although that's probably indicative of this team - the punter is a weapon.  Dan Carpenter has struggled early this season, but should be able to bounce back.  However, unless Reggie Bush starts returning kicks and/or punts for the Dolphins', the edge Cribbs gives is hard to overcome.

Mosul's pick: Miami 30-Cleveland 20.

Mosul's picks record on the season: 21-11

Mosul's picks record in Dolphins games: 1-1

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