Week 1: Dolphins-Texans matchup

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Miami at Houston
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Reliant Stadium, Houston - TV: CBS; DirecTV: 709
*TV announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
*Keys to the game: Houston is going to run the ball, set up the pass and put some points on the board. Question is, can Dolphins rookie QB Ryan Tannehill keep pace? Facing coordinator Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense is a challenge for the most veteran quarterbacks, much less an extremely raw rookie with very questionable downfield options. Miami must run the ball effectively out of the gate, a tall task considering its thin offensive line has been beset by a string of bumps and bruises. That puts the onus on the Dolphins' defense to contain RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate and come up with turnovers to create short fields. Texans QB Matt Schaub shook off rust as the preseason went on, and if WR Andre Johnson is indeed healthy and able to stretch the field he will keep the safeties honest.
*Matchup to watch - Dolphins LDE Jared Odrick vs. Texans RT Derek Newton: If there's a question mark on Houston's offense, it's on the right side of the line where Newton, a little-known 2011 seventh-round pick out of Arkansas State, won the job even before Rashad Butler was lost for the season. This will mark his first career start. It's a big opportunity for Odrick, who had 21 tackles and 6.0 sacks in a part-time role last year, but now starts opposite Cam Wake with Kendall Langford in St. Louis.
*Player spotlight - Dolphins WR Anthony Armstrong: When the Dolphins were unable to complete a trade for Armstrong, they simply signed him off waivers. Armstrong has more upside than most any receiver on the roster and could see immediate action.
*Fast facts: Tannehill started just 19 career games at Texas A&M. ... Schaub had a 116.3 passer rating on the road last season, but only a 78.1 rating with five touchdowns and five interceptions at home.
It's difficult envisioning the Dolphins being very competitive on the road with a raw rookie quarterback making his first career start with few dangerous downfield weapons - and against a swarming defense featuring a slew of pass rushers.
*Our pick: Texans 30-13

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