This afternoon the Miami Dolphins will open up the 2010 season when they face off with the Buffalo Bills for the 93rd time in the history of this rivalry. The Fins are coming off a 7-9 season, while Buffalo was 6-10 in 2009–the teams split their season series last year, with both teams winning their home games.
One of the Dolphins great strengths the last couple of years has been their running game (4th best in the NFL last season) and the Bills defense has really struggled against the run (30th in the NFL last year), so don’t be surprised if the Fins once again turn to the backfield to get their offense going.
Of course, there is a big offensive addition this year, as Miami has brought in former Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall to add a legitimate outside threat to the passing game.
Continue reading to see what our experts are expecting. Keith Sims will tell us what he wants to see out of the Miami offense; Sam Madison will explain what he wants to see from the defense; and John Congemi will give a key to victory for the Dolphins.
I want to see the solid connection in the passing game between Chad Henne and his new #1 receiver, Brandon Marshall.
With all the swapping and competition on the O-line, these games count and we need to be able to count on this group to be a solid group. The O-line needs to not just control the line of scrimmage (vs #30 ranked run def in Bills), but they need to dominate the Bills D-line. They also need to provide complete protection for Henne.
Let’s see the running game pick up where it left off last year. Ronnie Brown is healthy and Ricky Williams is still a freak of nature to be able to play at this level at this age.
Finally, the TE’s. This group (can you call two players a group?) needs to justify the staff’s confidence in them (D.Martan being released). We saw some hope in the preseason that TE’s can be a factor in the passing game. Now we need to see if for real.
Bottom line, the time to be vanilla is over, it’s time to go out and win games!
What I would like to see from this defense is communication. This group is so young and inexperienced and communication will be critical. This will allow them to play fast and to get the Bills’ offense in long passing downs so we can see these young pass rushers get after the QB and O-Line.
Being that the Bills and Lee Evans have made some big plays in the past three or four years, I would like to see the front seven control the run game and see if this secondary can control the passing game.
Opening games have a different feel that any other games and one of the reasons is you really don’t know what to expect from the other team. The one aspect of the game that you have total control of is what YOU do and that’s what the Dolphins must do on Sunday to win.
Tony Sparano talked about winning the turnover battle. Not coming up even, but winning it outright. I believe that he’s correct because the Miami Defense must play aggressive vs. a Bills offense that doesn’t have a lot of firepower.
The one thing that can’t happen on Sunday is to let CJ Spiller change the game with one big run, or a highlight reel special teams return for a touchdown. The 2010 version of the Miami Dolphins is youthful on both sides of the ball, and when you have that, the most important concern for any coach is how your team plays and not what the other team does!
So there you have an idea of what our experts think. Be sure to tune into live game coverage beginning at 11am on CBS-4, 940-WINZ, BIG 105.9, and of course, Dolphins.com. You can listen to the entire game there and also join the live chat.
Enjoy today’s game, enjoy the start of the season, and be sure to check back later this afternoon for a wrap-up and tomorrow morning to see who the broadcast team gives their game balls to. Go Fins!
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.