I think it is safe to say that the Miami Dolphins will not make the postseason. They have lots of issues dogging them – starting quarterback Trent Green going down with a Grade 3 concussion, an offense that revolves around Ronnie Brown, and a defense that has truly gone downhill, as opposed to recent seasons. This Sunday, they hope to snag their first win of the season when they visit the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
The Dolphins will turn to reserve QB Cleo Lemon; Lemon is the most experienced of the remaining QB’s – Lemon has played in five games, 1 as a starter. Rookie QB John Beck hasn’t yet taken a snap. At least the Dolphins have a running game in Ronnie Brown (83 carries, 425 yards, 4 touchdowns) and may benefit due to the fact that the Browns have allowed 787 rushing yards – third-most in the NFL. The Dolphins have allowed 871 rushing yards (2nd-most in the league), but may be able to improve on that assuming Browns starting RB Jamal Lewis doesn’t play (sprained foot).
The Browns have established their passing game with starter Derek Anderson (83-of-159, 1,251 yards, 11 TD’s, 8 INT’s). Adding to their offensive arsenal are wide receiver Braylon Edwards (24 catches, 485 yards, 4 TD’s) and tight end Kellen Winslow (24-416-2 TD’s). As previously mentioned, RB Jamal Lewis (77-382-2 TD’s) may not be available with a sprained foot; assuming he cannot play, Jason Wright and Jerome Harrison would carry the ball. Cleveland’s defense is ranked at or near the very bottom in nearly category, which may bode well, especially for the Dolphins’ running game.
For Miami to win this weekend, they will definitely want to run the ball to set up the passing game which stands a good chance of succeeding against the Browns’ secondary. Meanwhile, the Browns will need to establish their passing game as I’m not convinced that the tandem of Wright and Harrison will do very well against the Dolphins’ linebackers. Their special teams may have a role in the outcome, as well. All things considered, I look for the Browns to win a fairly close ball game as the passing game and perhaps some fireworks from return specialist Joshua Cribbs will help determine the outcome in their favor.