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Seahawks at Dolphins: What to watch for in Week 4

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in a game featuring the early-season favorite for NFL MVP, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. The Dolphins, coming off a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3, will have had ten days, thanks to a Thursday Night Football appearance last week, to prepare for the Seahawks. Can they come away with the upset win and move to 2-2 on the year, or will the Seahawks continue to roll with a 4-0 record?

A lot of things probably need to go right for the Dolphins to pull off that upset win. Looking forward to the game, we selected five things to watch for Miami on Sunday:

Xavien Howard vs. DK Metcalf

This is going to be a matchup to watch all game. Metcalf is just putting up stupid numbers to start the season, including a 24.8 yards/per reception average, and he is using his size to make plays. Howard should be shadowing Metcalf all game so he will have the task of trying to stop Metcalf from getting giant chunks of yards.

Rest of secondary vs. Tyler Lockett

Metcalf is the big-play threat, with Wilson looking to him to make the impact play. Lockett is the volume receiver that (a) keeps the offense moving and (b) is clearly Wilson’s most trusted target. Wilson has thrown to Lockett 29 times (22 for Meltcalf), with the receiver catching 24 of those passes (12 for Metcalf). Assuming Howard is on Metcalf and Byron Jones’ doubtful status leads to him being out for the game, the Dolphins have to see Noah Igbinoghene, Nik Needham, or Jamal Perry step up and be effective against Lockett.

Offensive line growth

The Dolphins’ offensive line continues to play well. It is not perfect, and there will probably be mistakes or missed blocks during the game, but they continue to impress each week. This is a unit that features four players new to the club this season, including rookies at left tackle and right guard, and they did not have any preseason playing time to get game-speed experience. The fact that the Dolphins are getting solid offensive line plan is such an improvement over the past several years that it feels refreshing.

Pass rush

The pass rush showed up last week once the Jacksonville Jaguars were in pass-only mode. Miami has seven sacks on the season, with four of them coming last week. Kamu Grugier-Hill, Kyle Van Noy, and Andrew Van Ginkel all recorded a sack, while Emmanuel Ogbah and Zach Sieler split one. They will have to continue to get after the quarterback this week if they want to slow down the Seahawks’ passing attack, but pressuring Wilson and actually finishing with the sack are two different things. Staying disciplined to keep Wilson in the pocket to allow the rush to get to him will be critical to any Miami success.

Weather

Sunday’s high in Seattle is 66°F and sunny. In Miami, it will be 88°F with thunderstorms. Can Miami use the weather to their advantage to try to slow the Seahawks offense? Will the heat and humidity get to the Seahawks? Will a thunderstorm force the most pass-heavy offense in the league to turn to the running game? The weather could be a factor on Sunday,