The 2012 rookie quarterback class saw stars emerge. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson all enjoyed impressive campaigns that saw their teams compete in the playoffs.
But don't forget about Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill. Both teams have made moves over the offseason to get the support that their quarterbacks need. For Brandon Weeden, it's the scheme. Finally Weeden will be able to throw the ball down the field in Norv Turner's first year as offensive coordinator. Not only that, but Weeden also has a proven star in the backfield in Trent Richardson, and a stalwart tackle protecting his blindside in Joe Thomas.
For Ryan Tannehill, it's all about personnel. Mike Wallace has the capability to take it to the house. Whenever Tannehill finds Wallace in space, the opposition will be in trouble. Throw in Brandon Gibson and last year's standout receiver Brian Hartline, plus second year running back Lamar Miller, and the Dolphins have some nice pieces that can cause problems for any defense. How big will the loss of Dustin Keller be? The man to watch in this game is Charles Clay. He needs to find consistency. Will this be the year he can finally emerge as a reliable receiver?
One area of concern for me right now is the offensive line. While I have no doubt Pouncey and co will be able to handle Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin, Paul Kruger will be attacking Tannehill's blindside. Will Jonathan Martin be able to protect his quarterback? Martin needs to give Ryan Tannehill some room to step up and make those throws downfield. This will be a key area to watch.
Where will this game be won and lost? Defense. Miami's defense will be led by Cameron Wake and his sidekicks Olivier Vernon and Dion Jordan. All three can terrorize defenses and get to the quarterback. Through the middle, Jared Odrick, Randy Starks and Paul Soliai are bruising defensive tackles that can wear down any offensive line. If these guys can get to Brandon Weeden, Sunday will be a good day for Miami.
Point for point, Miami's potent offense means they will outscore the Cleveland Browns, providing they can protect Ryan Tannehill. When you combine this with Miami's dangerous pass rushers, we should see Miami go 1-0 in Cleveland.
24-10 in favor of the Miami Dolphins.
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