By Abraham Gutierrez
A pair of ballclubs looking to get back into playoff contention in their respective conferences will collide in Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season, as the Washington Redskins welcome the revamped, odds-on favorite Miami Dolphins. FedExField in Landover, Maryland, will be the site for this intriguing clash, scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET on CBS Sports.
Redskins 2014 NFL Season Recap
Last season marked the Redskins’ 82nd campaign in the National Football League. However, for first-year head coach, Jay Gruden, it was a forgettable experience. With a record of 4-12, the Skins closed out the year sitting in the cellar of the NFC East and failed to qualify for the NFL playoffs for a second straight season. After a tumultuous 2015 NFL preseason filled with controversy, all indications are that there’s more drama in store for Gruden’s bunch, especially on the offensive side of the football.
Redskins on Offense
Under new offensive coordinator, Sean McVay, the Skins featured one of the most anemic attacks in the league in 2014. In his first year at the helm of the offense, McVay’s group finished ranked 26th in points, 13th in total yards, 11th in passing yards and 19th in rushing yards per game.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that starting quarterback Robert Griffin III will start the season riding the pine. The former second-overall pick suffered a concussion during a preseason game against the Detroit Lions on August 20. Thus, all indications are that Kirk Cousins will start under center when the Dolphins invade the nation’s capital in Week 1.
Redskins on Defense
Entering his 14th season in the league, first-year defensive coordinator Joe Barry will have the tall task of improving a Washington “D” that ranked 20th in total yards, 24th against the pass, and 12th versus the rush. This will be only the second time that he serves as DC in the National Football League, having filled that position for the Detroit Lions during the 2007-08 NFL season.
Barry will employ the 4-3 and 3-4 defensive schemes in his first year in charge of the Skins’ defense. The former USC Trojan ran the 4-3 in “The Motor City” and the 3-4 as linebackers’ coach during his three-year stint with the San Diego Chargers.
Redskins Players to Watch
On the offensive side of the rock, Joe Philbin will have to contend with 2-time Pro Bowl running back, Alfred Morris. Entering his fourth season in the NFL, the Pine Forest High School product seems poised for another strong, productive start out of the gate. Last season, the former sixth-round pick tallied 1,074 rushing yards on 265 carries to go along with his eight touchdowns.
Defensively, the Redskins player to watch is none other than 2012 Pro Bowl linebacker, Ryan Kerrigan. The 27-year-old from Muncie, Indiana, is coming off a season in which he was not only the sacks leader in the Redskins locker room, but also ranked seventh in the National Football League in that category.
Dolphins vs. Redskins 2015 NFL Week 1 Odds
According to NFL oddsmakers, the Fins will be the team to beat despite being on the road to kick off the new campaign. Point spreads depict the Miami Dolphins (-4) as betting favorites by a pair of safeties over the Washington Redskins (+4). The OVER/UNDER for this inter-conference battle is set at a combined total of 43 points, and alternate straight-up lines go as follows: Fins (-185) vs. Skins (+160).
Abe Gutierrez’s passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers) and CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com. and other online publications.