Where: FedEx Field
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM
Keys to the Game:
- Which QB, if any, will step up? In my estimation, the QB situation for each team is about even. Miami has Trent Green, who is past his prime but still able to lead an offense effectively. Washington, on the other hand, has Jason Campbell, a young prospect who looked solid in his limited starts last season. Campbell will face a tough challenge against the Miami defense and could be confused by the pressure. Green could collapse behind a shaky offensive line. Both will have their work cut out for them, and the team whose QB steps up will have a big advantage over their opponent.
- Which team will more effectively establish its running game? Both offenses rely on a strong running game to be effective. Ronnie Brown and Jesse Chatman may have a hard time finding any holes. Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts form a fearsome duo at RB, but Portis' knees are already screaming from tendinitis and the season hasn't even begun yet. Additionally, they will be running against a defense that allowed only 101.1 yards per game on the ground last season. One group of RBs is going to have to grind out some tough yards in order to maintain the possession of the ball for their offense.
- Will Miami's defense be able to carry the team right out of the gates? In the past, Miami's defense has been able to carry the team to victory at times. The question is whether it will be able to do so starting with Game One. It will depend on the unit's cohesion, which shouldn't prove to be a big problem as the unit remains largely intact from last season. They are also facing a very green QB who could succumb to their blitzes and coverage schemes. The secondary will face a tough challenge against the Washington receivers, particularly WR Santana Moss and TE Chris Cooley. They will be responsible for preventing the big play that could change the complexion of the game in an instant.
- Miami: QB Trent Green - Will he be able to lead this offense effectively and efficiently, or will he flounder and stall? The key for him is to make smart passes and avoid costly turnovers. He'll need to protect the ball if the pocket begins to break down.
- Washington: QB Jason Campbell - How will he respond to the Miami defense? If he can find Moss deep down the field, the Redskins could jump out to a lead that Miami's offense cannot climb back from.
This will be a low-scoring game as both offenses struggle to get into any kind of a rhythm. I think Miami's defense will ultimately prove to be too much for Campbell to have success against. This is by far the best defense he has played against in his young career. Miami wins 14-13.