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In a game between two run-first teams, Phil Dawson's leg might be the difference yet again.
Last season, the Browns defeated Miami on a last-second field goal by Phil Dawson. This game features a matchup between two run-first teams, and it is unlikely that this game will be decided before the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins are another opponent in a state of transaction. Opposing defenses have gradually found a way to tame the Dolphins’ formerly powerful Wildcat offense, and the oft-injured Ronnie Brown and the aging Ricky Williams are no longer the fearsome tandem that ran wild over opposing defenses in past seasons.
The Dolphins’ quarterback situation is also relatively unsettled. Chad Henne has been less than stellar behind center for the Dolphins, and the Dolphins may opt to find another quarterback in the offseason. Regardless of who is throwing the ball, the Browns must shut down Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins’ standout wide receiver. Marshall's combination of size and pass-catching ability makes him a tough cover for any team, and defensive coordinator Dick Jauron will need to figure out a way to contain him if the Browns expect to win.
The Dolphins’ defense is solid, with Pro Bowl linebacker Cameron Wake leading the charge. If he is not contained, Wake will make life difficult for Colt McCoy. Other Dolphin standouts include Karlos Dansby and Vontae Davis.
Prediction: Browns win in another close game