The Miami Dolphins just saw the Buffalo Bills lose EJ Manuel for the remainder of the preseason and continue to watch the New York Jets flounder. They’re bound to feel this is their best shot at a division title in a long time. The Houston Texans have been contenders in the AFC South for years and while they face a solid Indianapolis Colts team, they are still in the drivers seat.
Here are three things to watch when these two teams meet tonight at 8pm EST.
1) So far, DeAndre Hopkins looks like the real deal. This year could see some incredible rookie wide receivers—Cordarelle Patterson, Robert Woods and Tavon Austin to name a few—but so far Hopkins looks like the best. It will be interesting to see if the Dolphins secondary—which looks like a weak point for the defense—can adjust to him this week.
2) Can the offensive line protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill or is it going to be a real issue all year. They may not have allowed a sack on Tannehill in Week 1, but that doesn’t mean they played well—especially at left tackle. Last week they allowed one sack on Tannehill but struggled again overall. At some point this line has to find a way to protect their quarterback, otherwise all the fancy new weapons they got will go to waste.
3) Since the offensive line of the Dolphins has issues, it stands to reason we should see a lot of Houston defenders in the backfield. They had success against the Minnesota Vikings last week, though often against the bench depth not starters. We should see if that carries over with what will probably be a longer look at the starting line for the Dolphins tonight.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys.com and an NFL writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.