Will Manso's keys to Dolphins pulling off upset in Seattle
MIAMI – The Dolphins are headed to Seattle on Thursday to get situated and ready for their regular-season opener on Sunday.
I'm not sure there's a tougher place in the NFL for Miami to begin.
Cross-country flight? Check. Loud stadium with great fans? Check. Super Bowl-contending team? Check.
It's no surprise the Dolphins are the biggest underdog of the week, according to Vegas odds makers. Miami is a 10.5-point underdog.
So is it impossible?
Here are the three most important things the Dolphins must do to even have a chance to win.
1. Contain Russell Wilson.
Three words. Sounds easy. Yet, it'll be the biggest challenge for Miami.
Wilson is one of the more dynamic players in the league. While no one is surprised at his ability to improvise and run, Wilson's ability to do that also makes him so dangerous as a passer.
With Marshawn Lynch no longer around, that leaves the burden even more so on Wilson.
It'll be on the talented Dolphins defensive line to pressure him while also containing him in the pocket.
That d-line is supposed to be a strength, so Dolphins fans can only hope they're up for the challenge.
2. Protect Ryan Tannehill.
As we turn our attention to the other QB in this game, it's no surprise that giving Tannehill time to make plays is vital.
Seattle's "Legion of Boom" defense may not be the dominant unit they've been in the past, but if Tannehill is rushed into bad decisions, the Seahawks outstanding secondary will take advantage.
The revamped offensive line looked good in the preseason for Miami in protecting the QB, and chances are Adam Gase will call plays to get the ball out of Tannehill's hands quickly.
3. Drown out the crowd noise.
This is easier said than done. Seattle's home field is known for being loud and seeing opposing teams unravel quickly when things don't go their way.
While there is no way to make a crowd like that go completely quiet, the only real formula that can work is success early. The Dolphins have to weather whatever storms come early and try to avoid a quick deficit.
Once things settle down, Miami could find itself in position to be in the game in the second half.
If not, those odds makers in Vegas could be very correct and this becomes a blow out quickly.
Look at the bright side: while the Dolphins are starting in one of the toughest places in the NFL, it would be quite a way to make a statement early in the season by getting an upset win.
But they'll need those three things I mentioned and more to have a chance to make it happen.
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