Originally written on Phins Phocus  |  Last updated 11/17/14

TGIF! It’s a football Friday and the first Dolphins game of the season is only 2 days away. Things are getting exciting as the Dolphins should have only one thing on their minds right now and that’s pulling off the huge upset against the Texans, although I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Yesterday I took a poll, and 20-13 voted they thought a Win is more important than a strong week 1 Tannehill performance. Tannehill will have all eyes on him Sunday as he is the first Dolphins rookie to get the week 1 start in 13 years.

That being said Ryan Tannehill isn’t going to be the only player on the field this Sunday and there are several other factors that will be big factors in determining the outcome of the game.

Below are 5 things that will be huge factor in the Dolphins first showdown of the season.

1) Dolphins defense ability to tackling 

Whether it’s been the cornerbacks (Sean Smith) or linebackers missing tackles in previous seasons or this preseason the Dolphins won’t have much wiggle room week 1 facing the best one- two running back duo in the league. Foster perhaps the league’s best back, joined with the talented Ben Tate can hurt you in the run game and even more so in the screen game and the Phins D have to put these elusive backs on the ground upon the first opportunity.

The Phins have no slack, if these two backs hurt them then it will open up the play action pass and things could start getting ugly. The run D in Miami has been an asset and they will need to come up huge this week if they want to have any chance at winning this week.

2) Ryan Tannehill needs a little help from his friends

After receiving praise all week from Texans head coach Gary Kubiack, NFL’s Greg Cosell and ESPN’s Ron Jaworski, Tannehill simply won’t be able to do it alone this week. All the “weapons” will need to be playing their best this week. Whether its new comer Anthony Armstrong or Brian Hartline returning from injury, every bit of help Tannehill can get the Dolphins need to take advantage.

Drops can’t be in the forecast, as the Dolphins are going to need long drives to keep the heavy fire powered Texans offense off the field

3) The offense line starting to gel

The Texans are now without Mario Williams yes; BUT J.J Watt has the makings of being one of the best pass rushers in the league so the Dolphins will get no break. Jake Long and John Jerry both scheduled to play this week won’t have any time to rest up as they are given the test of maybe the league’s best defense right away.  The pass rush will be fierce as I expect Wade Phillips to give the rookie QB all he can handle right out of the gates. The O-Line needs to be Tannehill’s best friend this week if they want to keep the kid alive and well for his model wife.

4) Joe Philbin’s game preparation

While there were certainly aspect of Joe Philbin’s coaching style that have been impressive and on display this offseason and on Hard Knocks, his preparation for game day is something that been lacking. The Dolphins came out pretty soft 3 out of the 4 games and never seemed fully prepared going into their games. While obviously the Dolphins ran vanilla defense and offenses for the preseason, Joe Philbin must out coach and out prepare Gary Kubiack this week, to provide an advantage for this underdog Phins team.

5) Dolphins invisible pass rush against the weak right side of the Texans offensive line

The Dolphins know they will get a solid effort and production from Cam Wake but Jarred Odrick and the young OLB’s will have to provide a solid pass rush to make sure Schaub doesn’t have time to connect with Andre Johnson who year in and year out has burned the Dolphins. A great pass rush can go a long way, and the Dolphins are going to need more than 1 guy to step up this week.

Dolphins football is almost here! PhinsUp!


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