The Redskins will be in for a tough test Week 1 against a Miami team that will be playing with a sense of urgency as they look to get off to a fast start. Let's review the NFL odds for this matchup.
How Has The Betting Line Moved?
Open: Miami -2
Current: Miami -2.5
The Miami Dolphins are expecting to contend for a playoff spot in 2015 following an offseason reload that included handing out the biggest contract in NFL history for a defensive player. For the Washington Redskins, a step in the right direction might be enough to consider this season a success. Washington stumbled to a 4-12 record last season and their -137 point differential was the worst in the NFC.
There hasn’t been much action to note here as the Dolphins have only slightly climbed. They appear to be the better team but bettors are still hesitant to trust them on the road.
3 Key Storylines
Miami’s Vertical Attack: Ryan Tannehill threw for a career-high 4,045 yards and 27 touchdowns last season and has consistently improved in every one of his first three NFL seasons so expectations are high heading in to 2015. One area the Dolphins would like to see more from Tannehill in is the vertical passing game where there will be an emphasis on stretching the field with more big plays. The addition of the speedy Kenny Stills from New Orleans will help in that department with Greg Jennings lined up on the opposite side and Jarvis Landry in the slot. Miami also added veteran tight end Jordan Cameron from Cleveland and he has a chance to be an absolute stud at the position as an underrated threat this season. The Dolphins have all of the tools to improve on the offensive side of the football this season and if Tannehill continues his progression this unit could be sneaky good in 2015.
Expectations For RGIII: Injuries and inconsistent play limited RGIII to nine games last season and many NFL experts felt that he actually regressed as far as his overall level of play is concerned. Part of the problem is the fact that Griffin is being asked to think so much rather than just going out there and slinging it and it will be interesting to see what adjustments both he and the coaching staff make heading in to his fourth NFL season. There is no doubt that RGIII has the size, arm, mobility and flare to thrive as a starting quarterback in the NFL but expectations will be tempered somewhat following last year’s nightmare season and the focus now will be on making progress and getting back to the level that football fans saw him play at when he took the league by storm in his rookie season.
Dolphins Defensive Dominance: Miami also upgraded on the defensive side of the football and it will be interesting to see if the Redskins offensive line can hold up against a dominant front-seven that will include Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon. The Dolphins aren’t very deep on that side of the football but when Suh, Wake and Vernon are on the field at the same time they have the potential to be very good up front. Miami ranked sixth in the NFL in pass defense a year ago and the hope is that the addition of Suh can make them that much more dominant up front with the pass rush the key to their success.
Bet Early Or Bet Later… And What’s The Play?
The Dolphins were a .500 team on the road last season while three of Washington’s four wins came at FedEx Field. Miami is currently listed at -2.5 and while it makes sense to take them to win by a field goal we want to see more out of RGIII and this Redskins offense before we bet on this game. Washington will run the football with Alfred Morris and they have some intriguing wide receiver options in DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts so we aren’t willing to completely write them off just yet. Miami is the play right now but we aren’t completely sold on the idea that the Dolphins will march in to the nation’s capital and win this game.
NFL Pick: Miami -2.5 at Pinnacle