Browns-Dolphins Preview

At 0-2, it doesn't look good for Dolphins. Could that be bad for the Browns?

It is bad in Miami.


•Miami's unemployment rate was at 11.8 percent in June, more than two percent higher than the national average.

•Miami has one of the highest crime rates in America. The chance of being a victim of violent or property crime is one in 15.

•Miami is the No. 1 spot most likely to be hit by a major hurricane.

•Miami's college football team is in the early stages of scandal after a former booster recently told Yahoo! sports that he provided impermissible benefits to the school's football players.

•Miami's professional football team is 0-2, it's having trouble selling out its games, it's led by an owner who doesn't like the coach and a coach who is playing a quarterback the fans don't like.

And someone wanted to take their talents to South Beach…

The Miami Dolphins, smack-dab in the middle of a rough five-game stretch, come to Cleveland on Sunday. The Dolphins opened the season with home games against New England and Houston followed by three road games at Cleveland, at San Diego and at the New York Jets.

"This might be the most important coaching week of Tony Sparano's life, wrote Miami Herald's Greg Cote. "His Dolphins future is wavering and could depend on Miami winning during this commencing three-game road trip — with Sunday's game at Cleveland presenting itself as the most likely victory of the three by a lot."

The Dolphins are presented with a "most likely victory" not only because they are playing the Browns, but also because the Dolphins proved to be a good road team. Last season, Miami was 6-2 on the road while the Dolphins have lost 11 of their last 12 at home, including 13-10 to the Browns last December.

"I don't know how they handle it, I don't know the intimacies of their team but I know for the Cleveland Browns, we're trying to do the very best we can to win every game, whether it's home or away."

For the second consecutive home game, the Browns are the favorites. It's an unfamiliar position and one that does not bode well, with week one's loss to Cincinnati being the most recent and obvious example.

"(Miami doesn't) look like an 0-2 football team, that's for sure, especially on the defensive side of the ball," Browns quarterback Colt McCoy said. "You look at some of the guys that they have on their defense and they've basically returned everybody from last year. I expect them to come in here ready to play, flying around. They're big, they're physical especially up front. Those guys upfront know how to play and we've got to be on our game for sure."

Browns got a win last Sunday after a season-opening debacle. They enter Week 3 at 1-1 overall for the first time since 2007. Winning and September have been mutually exclusive in Cleveland, Ohio.

Miami, which is a Cleveland-like 0-2, has allowed 30.5 points per game, 122 yards rushing per game and 361.5 yards passing per game. Seems like a good sign for the Browns offense, no? Well, Cleveland's offense isn't producing eye-popping numbers, but they are respectable. McCoy is 41-for-72 passing for 424 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, running back Peyton Hillis has 151 yards and two touchdowns on 44 carries and wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi is the leading receiver with six catches for 122 yards.

If the past two weeks are any indication, McCoy, Massaquoi and the rest of the Browns offense could have a field day on Sunday. Tom Brady torched the Dolphins defense to the tune of 32-for-48 passing for 517 yards and four touchdowns in week one and Matt Shaub went 21-for-29 passing for 230 yards and two touchdowns last week.

Defensively, the Browns' young line showcased their skills last Sunday in Indianapolis. Tackle Phil Taylor finished with two tackles, assisted on three and had one pass deflection. Ahtyba Rubin, Taylor's companion in the middle, finished with one sack, one tackle for loss and two quarterback hits and defensive end Jabaal Sheard had four tackles, one sack, one tackle for a loss, one quarterback hurry, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

The Browns are still giving up a lot on the ground. Opponents are averaging 4.2 yards per carry, as the Cincinnati Bengals and Colts combined to rush for 248 yards on 59 carries.

Miami employs a formidable backfield of rookie Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush. Last Sunday, Thomas rushed for 107 yards on 18 carries against Houston and as a team Miami is averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

The Browns defense is game planning against a familiar face and a familiar scheme. Dolphins offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who held the same position in Cleveland in 2009 and 2010, is expected to use a form of the Wildcat that features the speedy Reggie Bush.

"They are very multiple obviously," Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. "They have been predominantly two personnel groupings so far, but I anticipate we may see more groupings and different formations. He does a very good job moving people around and using his talent and they do have a good deal of talent."

Entering this game, the expectations are the Browns should win. We're all aware that does not bode well for the boys in orange and brown. But fear not Clevelanders. If you are leaving the stadium downtrodden after another Browns loss this Sunday, at least you're not returning to a city of unemployment, crime and hurricanes. Well, at least we know there won't be any hurricanes.

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