Saturday, September 7, 2013

Week 1 AFC East game picks: Fins at Browns

Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior contributor Sean Donovan pick the Miami Dolphins' road battle with the Cleveland Browns.

Sean's take:
As silly as it is to call a Week 1 game a must-win, considering the next four games on the Dolphins' schedule, a loss to the Browns has the potential to doom the expectation-laden 2013 season before it gets started. An improved Brandon Weeden behind one of the NFL's best offensive lines makes the difference in this one, and Cleveland wins a low-scoring affair and puts Miami in a 0-1 hole.
Prediction: Browns 23, Dolphins 20

Nick's take:
If the Dolphins can keep running back Trent Richardson somewhat in check and get on the board early, they should be able push through a low-scoring affair to victory. Weeden will make enough bad throws to keep the Dolphins in the driver's seat throughout, though I'm still holding my breath with Jonathan Martin protecting Ryan Tannehill's blindside.
Prediction: Dolphins 17, Browns 13

Dan's take:
Lots of pressure will be on the shoulder of Tannehill, who will look to carry an offense with an uncertain running game and new faces in the passing attack. Tannehill will aim to cut down on his interceptions and improve on his third-down efficiency against a defense that gave up more than 350 yards a game last season. If the Fins defense can contain Richardson, Miami’s defense should have a field day in the backfield.
Prediction: Dolphins 27, Browns 13