It's time to bring back one of our features from last year. The point of this is to take a look at the game from the point of view of both teams. I will supply 3 reasons why each team could win this game. The idea here is that these might be some of the arguments you might hear in a bar if two fans (one from each team) were having a few beers and discussing the upcoming game. Onto the reasons.
3 Reasons Why the Dolphins Will Win:
1. Jason Campbell is too inexperienced. Campbell has started just 7 games in 2 years with the Redskins. In those 7 games, he's completed just 53% of his passes, thrown 6 interceptions, and has a rating of 76.5. And right now, I'm 100% certain that Dom Capers is licking his chops just thinking about the different looks and blitzes he's going to throw at the young quarterback. Capers has many different toys to play with and throw at Campbell from all different directions (Taylor, Porter, Crowder, Bell). I got a feeling that Campbell, besides being on his back a lot, will make a few mistakes with the ball when he's feeling the pressure.
2. The Redskin defense isn't very good. Last season, Washington's defense ranked next to last in total defense and gave up over 23 points per game. Though they improved a bit with the acquisition of London Fletcher and I do think Rocky McIntosh and LaRon Landry will be good in time, they still didn't do enough to improve in this area. Last year, the Redskins forced a turnover just once every 17.2 possessions. Oh, and their starters on the defensive line combined last year for just 10 sacks all season. Trent Green's going to have time to throw and, even though the secondary is good, he'll be efficient and score just enough to win.
3. Clinton Portis isn't ready. It's no secret, in my opinion, why Mike Shanahan decided to trade away Clinton Portis. Portis fell to the 19th pick of round 2 because of the injury concerns. Then Portis comes off of his best year ever and is traded by Denver to Washington. Shanahan knew there wasn't much left in those knees. And as you can see, it's showing now. Portis missed all of the preseason and, though he is saying all the right things, I just don't think he'll be ready to handle his share of the carries on Sunday, which kills Washington because he is their best offensive player. Now, I know they also have Ladell Betts, but I don't really fear him at all. In fact, in 7 games last year, Betts averaged less than 3.6 yards per carry. I don't suspect he'll do any better against Miami's defense.
3 Reasons Why the Redskins Will Win:
1. The Redskins will get an early lead. Why is this important? Should the Skins jump out to an early lead, that will mean the Dolphins will be forced to pass the ball more than they would like. And make no mistake about it, the Dolphins are going to be a run-oriented team. Falling behind early would take the Dolphins out of their gameplan and force Trent Green to have to throw the ball often against a very good secondary (the strength of Washington's defense) that features Carlos Rogers, Shawn Springs, Sean Taylor, and LaRon Landry. That's certainly something I'm sure Miami doesn't want to have to do.
2. The Redskins have 2 legitimate ball carriers. With Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts, the Skins have a running back tandem that will allow them to take the pressure off of Jason Campbell and the passing game. These 2 backs will also allow the Redskins to consistently pound the ball at Miami's front 7, hoping to wear them down as the game drags on. Remember, Miami's front 7 features some older veterans like Keith Traylor, Vonnie Holliday, Zach Thomas, and Jason Taylor. If the Redskins can use both backs to pound the ball inside and tire the defense, then they'll be able to pick up chunks of yardage at a time late in the game on the ground. This will also force the safeties to help out in run support, opening up the deep ball to Santana Moss.
3. It's week one in Washington. What kind of significance is this? Over the past 5 seasons, the Redskins have opened the season at home everytime. And in those 5 games, the Redskins are 4-1, with their only loss last year by just 3 points. The bottom line here is that Redskin fans are loud and passionate and playing on the road on opening day is always a challenge. The fact that Miami opens against a team with a good home opener track record makes this week's game even tougher.