2016 NFL Week 1 Preview: Seahawks vs. Dolphins
If the Seahawks didn’t love making games interesting, I would be comfortable in saying the Seahawks should enjoy a healthy romp over the Dolphins to start the season off 1-0. It’s an afternoon game (1:05 PT), at home, against a rookie head coach (Adam Gase), and an offense that doesn’t exactly inspire fear.
But the Seahawks love making games interesting.
They debut their new-look offensive line, minus starting guard Germain Ifedi (out with a high ankle sprain), against a defensive line featuring Ndamukong Suh, Cam Wake, and Mario Williams. Wake is returning from a torn Achilles, and Williams is coming off of a down season (5 sacks). Unfortunately for Seattle, their offensive line has a history of making even basic pass rushers look extraordinary. Now would be a great time for them to prove that the solid starting OL play from this preseason was more than a fluke. Thomas Rawls will be eased back into action and Christine Michael should still be hot after his excellent preseason, so you can expect Seattle to run the ball early, often, and with temerity. Russell Wilson and the Seattle aerial attack should get settled into things as well, as the Miami linebackers and secondary aren’t exactly an All-Pro gang.
However, Miami has further improvements of their own to muddy the waters a bit. Adam Gase, their new coach, has a gift for connecting with quarterbacks and elevating their play. Ryan Tannehil, entering his fifth year, could certainly benefit from such coaching, as he’s never quite managed to solidly trend in either direction. They have added first-round pick Laremy Tunsil, who has the talent to immediately bring some coherence to an offensive line that has left Tannehill at the mercy of pass rushers every week. New pickup Arian Foster has spent the preseason showing some flashes of the player he was, before being lost last season with an Achilles tear.
Matchup To Watch: Michael Bennett vs. Laremy Tunsil. The rookie Tunsil is starting at guard and Bennett typically rushes inside on passing downs. Bennett has the ability to freestyle occasionally, and I am willing to bet that is a matchup he will enjoy seeking out.
Prediction: Whoever dominates in the trenches will win.