It is difficult to pick a true lock in Week 1 of the NFL. Most teams are matched up against rivals, meaning most of the games should be close.
However, one game sticks out as the clear lock of the week. That game is the Houston Texans hosting the Miami Dolphins. The Texans will win this game in a blowout and go to 7-0 all time against Miami.
This game features one of the best defenses in the league versus one of the worst offenses. The Texans ranked fourth in the NFL last year on defense with 278 total points allowed. The Dolphins, on the other hand, had one of the worst offenses in the NFL last year.
The argument that the loss of defensive end Mario Williams will matter is very flimsy. Williams only played in five games last year and did not participate in the playoffs.
The fact of the matter is that the Texans defense against the Dolphins offense is a terrible mismatch. The Dolphins should feel good if they manage to score a touchdown in this game.
The Rich Get Richer
In this case, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. The Texans—who won their first playoff game in franchise history last year—got back the 2009 Pro Bowl MVP, Matt Schaub, at quarterback.
The Dolphins—tied for last place in the AFC East last year—only got worse.
They downgraded to rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. They lost their No. 1 wide receiver and got no replacement. Their star left tackle, Jake Long, is injured. Miami also lost veteran cornerback Vontae Davis.
Week 1 features an even stronger Texans team versus an even weaker Dolphins team. This matchup is kicking a team when it's down. The Texans out-man Miami in every phase and at almost every position.
Given all that, one might ask if the 12-point spread is even enough.
Why Did the NFL Schedule This Game?
It is a reasonable question to ask. Week 1 is meant for rivalries and close finishes. Yet the NFL is having the best team in the AFC South host the worst team in the AFC East.
This is reminiscent of Week 1 of college football. The powerhouse team is hosting a weak team to get off to a strong start. Except that is not what we want to see in professional sports.
For whatever reason, the NFL picked this game for Week 1. The game is yet to be played, so Dolphins fans should keep their hope. However, of all the games going on this week, this is by far the easiest one to predict.
The Texans will begin their year with a win.