Staff pre­dic­tions

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Gameday -

Kathy Laugh­lin Sports Ed­i­tor Prediction: Dol­phins 20, Ti­tans 16

Com­ment: The Dol­phins have a chip on their shoul­ders, and they open at home. That might be enough. Mi­ami wants to prove its high-pro­file de­par­tures haven’t hurt, and Ryan Tan­nehill wants to show that he is fully re­cov­ered from knee surgery. The Ti­tans, a play­off team last year, will be tough and phys­i­cal, and their rush­ing de­fense presents a ma­jor hur­dle. How RBs Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake hold up will be key.

Dave Hyde Sports Colum­nist Prediction: Dol­phins 21, Ti­tans 17

Com­ment: You want to en­ter a sea­son with op­ti­mism, and this is a game both teams’ fans en­ter think­ing they should win. Ten­nessee’s phys­i­cal­ity and run­ning game are a con­cern. But their over­all tal­ent isn’t a cut above, they’re learn­ing new coach Mike Vra­bel’s ways and the steamy Septem­ber game is a plus for the Dol­phins. Omar Kelly Dol­phins Writer/Colum­nist Prediction: Ti­tans 21, Dol­phins 17 Com­ment: Styles mat­ter, and when they con­trast it usu­ally leads to trou­ble­some re­sults. The Ti­tans play a phys­i­cal style that has given Mi­ami prob­lems the past few years. Adam Gase wants to change that, but it won’t hap­pen overnight, or in the sea­son opener.

Keven Lerner As­sis­tant Sports Ed­i­tor Prediction: Ti­tans 20, Dol­phins 17

Com­ment: The Dol­phins are an un­der­dog at home against the Ti­tans, who are com­ing off the fran­chise’s first play­off win in 14 years. Mike Vra­bel, who has three Su­per Bowl rings as a line­backer with New Eng­land, makes his head-coach­ing de­but for the Ti­tans, who have won five straight road open­ers —the NFL’s long­est such streak. The Dol­phins will have a tough time stop­ping the run as the Ti­tans will grind it out on the ground. Dol­phins QB Ryan Tan­nehill re­turns af­ter miss­ing the past 20 games be­cause of knee in­juries. Steve Svekis Se­nior Con­tent Ed­i­tor Prediction: Ti­tans 26, Dol­phins 24

Com­ment: Mar­cus Mar­i­ota’s lone game at Hard Rock Sta­dium (in 2016) was one of the best of his ca­reer. His mo­bil­ity opens up so many run-pass op­tions and is com­ple­mented by mas­sive blud­geon­ing back Der­rick Henry (6 feet 3, 247 pounds). The Dol­phins duo of lineback­ers who are mak­ing their first NFL starts need to come up huge for the Dol­phins to open with a win.

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