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Contrary to the belief of some of the national pundits on the Internet, I am not one of those who think the Browns will be one of the surprise teams that challenge for a playoff spot this season.
I do think they will be improved, but just not to the point that they are printing postseason tickets just yet.
Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson, Joe Haden and all the kiddies on the playground are ready to move on to middle school and take a stab at competing with the big boys.
The Miami Dolphins are looking to move from Middle school to high school.
The ‘Fins are hoping their changes on defense and improvements with the receivers and the running game will mean a rise in the AFC standings to a point where they will be printing postseason tickets. They may not be ready to challenge for the AFC East crown or a Super Bowl berth, but they should be one of the six best teams in the conference.
What happens when Cleveland feels the heat in south Florida? Can Trent Richardson take the next step toward being a huge success? What is the Browns' defense going to look like?
Does Miami have a chance with Cleveland’s secondary? Ryan Tannehill has to have a huge game. Where does Mike Wallace fit in this offense? And what happens on special teams with both franchises using new kickers to start the season?
These are a few predictions for this week’s encounter.
Trent Richardson has a monster game
With only 950 yards to his credit and a writer (me) who thinks he might flop as a back in the NFL, Richardson proves me wrong with a 150-yard performance against a defensive line that is supposed to be one of the best in the game, if not the best.
Richardson is out to prove injuries only curtailed what could have been a huge start for him in the NFL.
Charles Clay, tight end savior
After the loss of Dustin Keller, everyone wondered who could step in and make a difference in the passing game from the tight end position. Clay, a converted fullback, is the answer. While he is not Dustin Keller’s athleticism or Keith Jackson’s physical appearance, but what he can be is a decent tight end in this offense. If he can be Joe Rose (name from the past) - then this is a huge score for the Fins. Look for Clay to score two touchdowns on the day.
Billy Cundiff kicks 45-yard field goal to win the game
You heard it here. While the Dolphins were underwhelming on offense all preseason, Cundiff was just signed this week to play for the Browns. I think he wins the game in the last seconds for the Browns.
Also, look for Dolphins kicker, Caleb Sturgis, to be a huge part of this game as well. If the offenses cannot move the ball through the air, Sturgis will make three chip shots to help the Dolphins' cause.
In the end, Browns win 26-23.