Miami at Seattle
Sunday, 1 pm PT - CBS
CRIS Opener: Seattle -7 O/U 44
CRIS Current: Seattle -10.5 O/U 43.5
The Seahawks have been an elite team for the last five years of the Pete Carroll era. But Carroll’s teams tend to pick up momentum as the season goes along, not right from the get-go on opening day. The Seahawks have lost in straight up fashion on opening day three times in the last five years; twice as favorites. Only once – their Thursday Night opener against Green Bay following their Super Bowl title – have they won on opening day by more than a touchdown. The Seahawks are not a team to lay double digits with coming out of the gate in 2016.
The betting markets continue to look at Seattle as a team without weaknesses. But one weakness has been very apparent if you’ve been paying attention to the Seahawks throughout the preseason – their offensive line. Offensive line coach Tom Cable has been trying to cobble together a unit that won’t have a single starter playing the same position as they did last year. First round pick and expected OL centerpiece Germain Ifedi was the latest projected starter to go down with an injury in practice this past week. Throw in the Seahawks issues at running back in the post Marshawn Lynch era and it’s difficult to see how the Seahawks offense is going to click right here in Week 1, especially given the first string offense's repeated struggles in August.
A weak, rebuilt offensive line is bad news against most teams. Against the Dolphins, it has the potential to be a disaster. Miami has spent a small fortune upgrading their front seven on defense over the past few offseasons. With Ndamukong Suh and Mario Williams anchoring the defensive front and Kiko Alonzo moving into the middle linebacker spot, don’t sleep on the Dolphins defensive talent. Expect Seattle’s running game to be very limited here, and Russell Wilson to be running for his life behind poor protection.
Can the Dolphins score enough to keep this one close? All reports out of Miami indicate that they can! New head coach Adam Gase developed a quarterback whisperer reputation in previous stops at Denver and Chicago. Miami has been taking offensive linemen at the top of the draft in recent seasons; a unit loaded with elite level talent. Meanwhile, like most elite teams trying to stay elite, the Seahawks have had to pay their stars in recent seasons, leading to ongoing depth problems. The deepest defense in the league two or three years ago isn’t the deepest defense in the league any more. Be sure to take at least a taste of the Dolphins on the moneyline at +425 or higher, in a game they’re live to win.