BY SEAN DONOVAN
Miami trots their rookie quarterback and transformed offense and defense out against the defending AFC South champions, who ranked in the top 10 in scoring on both sides of the ball in 2011.
Week 1 has all the makings of a rout in Houston's favor, and figures to be a 'welcome to the NFL' moment for quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
But they still have to get on the field and play the game, and there is one possible way the Dolphins could spring an upset. And it's something Joe Philbin and the coaches have been emphasizing this preseason:
"The first thing I said to the team -- the keys to winning this game we’ve got to start finding a way to win the turnover margin," Philbin said, according to the team's media site. "We’re on the road against a very good team, so that’s the way to give yourself a chance is to win the turnover margin."
Talent-wise, the Dolphins will be out-classed at nearly every position on the field. The Dolphins have little hope of simply out-scoring the Texans' three-headed monster of Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, and Andre Johnson. Not only must Miami's defense force mistakes, but they must limit them on offense as well.
"We got to find a way to knock the ball loose," said Philbin. "Take it away a couple of times and, conversely on offense, we’ve got to do a phenomenal job protecting our quarterback, holding on to the football in traffic."
Through four preseason games, the Dolphins have been error-prone on offense and bewildered on defense whenever the starters were on the field.
To have any hope of beating one of the league's elite teams, Miami would need a few turnovers to sway the momentum. If the Dolphins can generate them consistently, they not only have a better chance to win this Sunday but put themselves in position to win more and more games in 2012.
''It's like a snowball rolling downhill,'' defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said, according to Fox Sports. ''Once they start happening and the confidence grows, it seems that the teams I've been with, you just expect it, and good things happen.''
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