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The Miami Dolphins will try for their first win of the season when they open their home schedule Sunday afternoon against the Oakland Raiders. Like the Dolphins, Oakland is coming off an opening week loss, falling 22-14 to San Diego on Monday night.
The Dolphins played mostly solid defense for three quarters against the Houston Texans last week, but a 24-point second quarter (aided by three Dolphins turnovers) blew open a tight game, from which the Dolphins could not recover.
Oakland has been one of the more hapless franchises in the NFL of late (the Raiders have made the playoffs just X times in the past decade). Can the Dolphins eke out a victory against a west coast team playing on the road following a short week?
When the Dolphins have the ball: Ryan Tannehill had about as bad a debut possible against Texan, completing just 56% of his passes with three interceptions. After the Dolphins fell behind Houston, the offense went into pass-first mode, which is not optimal for a rookie quarterback still grasping the intricacies of an NFL offense.
Reggie Bush was effective early, and the Dolphins will need him to grind out tough yards on the ground to ease the burden on Tannehill. He has a tough test ahead of him, as Oakland held San Diego to just 32 yards on the ground last week.
When the Raiders have the ball: Veteran quarterback Carson Palmer threw 297 yards in a losing effort on Monday. He was very efficient, completing 70% of his passes without the aid of top receiver Denarius Moore, who should return this week. Ace return specialist Jacoby Ford will not play, having undergone surgery earlier this week.
Darren McFadden carried the load offensively against San Diego, rushing for only 32 yards on 15 carries but adding 86 yards receiving. He is the type of dynamic back who has given the Dolphins fits in recent years.
Who has the edge? Though Oakland is favored, the early start and the Raiders' short week should not be overlooked. Miami has a chance to steal a win against Oakland, but only if Tannehill can avoid the mistakes (namely the balls batted at the line of scrimmage that turned into interceptions) that plagued him against Houston.
The Pick: Miami 17-Oakland 10
Details: Oakland Raiders (0-1) at Miami Dolphins (0-1)
TV: CBS, 1:00 p.m., Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots
Line: Raiders by 2.5
Previously: Dolphins won 34-13 in Miami last season