Game Preview - Seahawks vs. Dolphins

Miami leads the all-time regular season series 6-3, with the two teams hooking up in five different venues (Dolphins Stadium, The Orange Bowl, The Kingdome, Husky Stadium, Qwest Field) over the years. This will be Seattle's 4th appearance in Dolphins Stadium, where Seattle is 1-2.

Injury Report

Seattle Seahawks
Out: QB Matt Hasselbeck, DT Red Bryant, LB David Hawthorne (calf), DE Patrick Kerney (shoulder)
Questionable: WR Deion Branch (heel), TE Will Heller (knee), T Floyd Womack (foot)
Probable: WR Koren Robinson (knee), LB Lofa Tatupu (groin), FB Leonard Weaver (foot)

Miami Dolphins
Probable: G Justin Smiley (shoulder)

Stats & Rankings

Seattle Seahawks

Offense

Total: 31st (255.5 yards per game)
Passing: 32nd (141.3 yards per game)
Rushing: 12th (114.3 yards per game)
Scoring: 26th (18.9 points per game)

Defense

Total: 27th (373.5 yards per game)
Passing: 31st (258.0 yards per game)
Rushing: 21st (115.5 yards per game)
Scoring: 26th (26.4 points per game)
Turnover Ratio: t-24th (-3)

Miami Dolphins

Offense

Total: 9th (349.0 yards per game)
Passing: 6th (249.3 yards per game)
Rushing: 22nd (99.8 yards per game)
Scoring: t-19th (21.4 points per game)

Defense

Total: 22nd (331.9 yards per game)
Passing: 26th (242.3 yards per game)
Rushing: 9th (89.6 yards per game)
Scoring: 12th (20.4 points per game)
Turnover Ratio: 2nd (+9)

Five Things to Watch

Here are five items to watch when the Seahawks visit the Miami Dolphins on Sunday:

Taming the Wildcat – Miami has been running the "Wildcat" offense, which is unconventional by NFL standards, for six weeks so the Seahawks should have plenty of game film to help prepare for this week. That preparation won't mean a thing if the Seahawks defense doesn't stay disciplined when they see it coming. Seattle's speedy defense has a tendency to over-pursue, which they can't afford to do against this particular offense.

Hey Porter – After being considered one of the biggest free agent busts in 2007, Dolphins outside linebacker/loudmouth Joey Porter leads the NFL in sacks (12.0) and has his sights set on Michael Strahan's single-season sack record. No other Dolphin pass rusher more than 2 sacks, though, so if the Seahawks can contain Porter, Seneca Wallace should have time to make plays.

Defending the Underneath PassChad Pennington didn't become the NFL's all-time leader in completion percentage by throwing deep or taking chances. He's not blessed with a strong arm, but he's deadly accurate and will take the underneath routes, particularly against a zone defense, when given to him. Pennington likes to throw to his tight ends and running backs and, in the last three weeks, the Seahawks have given up an alarming number of receptions to running backs and tight ends (47 receptions for 493 yards). Perhaps the expected return of middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu will make a difference.

Rocky Bernard/Craig Terrill – Ever since Dolphins guard Donald Thomas was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury after the season opener, it's been a revolving door at the right guard position. Evan Mathis and Ike Ndukwe have split the snaps since, but Mathis was released on Friday and head coach Tony Sparano indicated that Andy Alleman, acquired off waivers from the New Orleans Saints, may see some time there on Sunday. Bernard and Terrill are the left defensive tackles and one or both could be in for a big day.

Early Wake-Up Call – For the second time in four weeks, the NFL schedule makers will have sent the Seahawks to the state of Florida. While Sunday won't be the Seahawks last 10am game (they play at St. Louis on December 14) of the season, it will mercifully be the Seahawks' fourth and final trip to the East Coast.

Programming Notes

FOX's duo of Sam Rosen (play-by-play) and Tim Ryan (analyst) will be up in the booth, with Chris Myers working the sidelines.

Prediction

If the Seahawks can protect the football and rattle Chad Pennington, they have a chance. The problem is the Dolphins are excellent at creating turnovers and without Patrick Kerney, the Seahawks struggle to put consistent pressure on the quarterback. Factoring in the 10am start time, it doesn't look good for the Seahawks.

Prediction: Dolphins 20, Seahawks 16

Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for Seahawks.Net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com) and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.


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