Quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be making his first career regular season NFL start on Sunday and while rookies don’t always fare so well in their first outings, playing in a familiar state and stadium might help.
Tannehill played at Texas A&M, so it wouldn’t be surprising if some of the Texas faithful were pulling for him in Houston and his final college contest came at Reliant Stadium when threw for 329 yards and a touchdown, en route to a 33-22 win over Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
The task will be much more challenging on Sunday as the Dolphins are an 11-point underdog on the NFL odds facing a team many consider to be a Super Bowl contender.
Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans
Betting Line: Texans -11
If there’s one key to a Dolphins victory on Sunday, it’s the running game. If anyone thinks that the Dolphins can go into Houston, be one-dimensional with a rookie quarterback making his first career start, and come away with the win, they are delusional.
Tannehill has already flashed some potential as being a possible solution to the Dolphins ongoing problem at quarterback but he’s also shown how raw he still is. Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas are going to have to help him running the ball, blocking and being nearby as his safety valve.
The Texans bring a lot of pressure on defense but there are some question marks about their front seven since Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans departed in the offseason. At the very least, it should make the Dolphins job of protecting Tannehill slightly easier.
This is definitely a tall order for the Dolphins to go into Reliant Stadium and get this win but the fact that Tannehill has some familiarity with the environment might be an omen. Hopefully that’s not all it is as the Dolphins are the biggest underdog in the NFL this week.