Miami Dolphins 7-round mock draft

Latest Dolphins 7-round mock draft

By: Brock Wells

The Miami Dolphins have the chance to finish the 2022 season strongly even if Tua Tagovailoa misses a large portion of the rest of their games. The offensive firepower of the team will be able to handle many of their challenges, particularly in their division from the New England Patriots and New York Jets, that are yet to come. This is a team that is likely to find itself in the hunt for a Wild Card come playoff time if their starting quarterback doesn’t return at all.

Looking around the NFL right now, it’s difficult to find ten teams better than the Dolphins. But we’ll see if that continues to be the case. With the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, who could the team select to build upon the foundation it has laid? A way-too-early mock draft looks like this.

1st Round (23rd Overall): Broderick Jones – T, Georgia

Broderick Jones is a great athlete for his size. At 6’5”, 315 pounds, he moves well due to his athletic background, which included playing basketball in high school and playing defensive end. His quickness off the snap is excellent and he’s made considerable improvements in his abilities as a pass protector, which was seen as a weak spot of his coming out of high school.

The Dolphins’ offensive line is currently ranked 24th in the NFL, a weakness on a team that otherwise has very few. The potential is there for Jones to fit in well on this team going into 2023 and beyond.

2nd Round (55th Overall): Zach Evans – RB, Ole Miss

Zach Evans is going to play in more games for Ole Miss in 2022 than he played in either of his previous seasons at TCU, which means he’ll be putting up career highs across a number of metrics by which running backs are measured. Ole Miss is riding along the success he has had so far this season and find themselves in the AP top ten.

The Dolphins have yet to the get the most out of their addition of Chase Edmonds and there’s no telling whether the injury prone Raheem Mostert is a long term solution. Adding Evans would give the team so depth to their running back depth chart.

3rd Round (76th Overall): Riley Moss – CB, Iowa

Riley Moss has been with Iowa since 2018 and has been a cornerstone of their defense over the last few seasons. The Hawkeyes play a tough, old-school brand of football, and though don’t have anything to show for offensively this season, Moss has 28 total tackles and two forced fumbles through six games.

Moss is a mature player with a lot of collegiate experience and figures to adapt quickly to the NFL because of this. The Dolphins have zero interceptions so far in 2022 and the great Xavien Howard has played in just four games.

3rd Round (87th Overall): Richard Jibunor – LB, Troy

Richard Jibunor began his college career at Auburn in 2018. After not playing in 2019, he has played the last three seasons at Troy. In those three seasons, he’s compiled 15 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss, and five forced fumbles. The 6’3”, 232-pound linebacker has a high skill set and a great edge rushing capability.

The Dolphins are averaging just 1.8 sacks per game so far this season. Drafting a player like Jibunor could prove beneficial for them starting right away, as he’s the kind of player who will come into the NFL with a lot of game experience.

5th Round (151st Overall): Layden Robinson – G, Texas A&M

Layden Robinson is 6’4”, 320 pounds, and a pulverizing force in the running game. Not the best athlete among ’23 draft prospects, he nonetheless is one of the strongest offensive linemen who will be taken in the draft. If your goal is to run the football, this is the kind of player you’re going to want on your team.

Imagine how dangerous the Dolphins could be if their running game was even remotely as good as their passing game. That could present the possibility for an offensive playbook that is deep and unpredictable. A guy like Robinson could prove helpful down the road.

6th Round (163 Overall): A.T. Perry – WR, Wake Forest

A.T. Perry has had a great career at Wake Forest. In 2021, the 6’5”, 206-pound wide receiver hauled in 71 receptions for 1,293 yards and 15 touchdowns. He isn’t currently on pace to replicate those exact numbers this season, but he’s still one of the better receivers in the country, having the benefit of catching passes from Sam Hartman.

Even the Dolphins could benefit from bringing in depth at the wide receiver position. Perry has become arguably one of the best receivers Wake history, using his frame to tower over shorter defensive backs and taking advantage of 50/50 balls.

7th Round (215th Overall): Nesta Jade Silvera – DL, Arizona State

Nesta Jade Silvera has been around college football since 2018, playing four seasons at Miami before transferring to Arizona State for the 2022 season. Not a sack artist, having recorded just two sacks in his collegiate career, he nonetheless is an excellent disrupter and a drawer of attention in the trenches.

Silvera provides plenty of upside as a later-round pick because of his experience on the defensive line. He’s played a lot of football and could prove to be a fine asset for the Dolphins’ defensive line rotation. A low risk, good reward kind of player.

Projecting the Miami Dolphins record in 2022

What will be the Dolphins record in 2022?

By: Jake Rajala

The Miami Dolphins have had one of the boldest off-seasons and they are primed to be a Super Bowl contender next season. With that said, I’m going to simply untwine the highs, lows, and overall record of the Dolphins in 2022.

Week 1: vs Patriots

I expect the Phins to have success against their foe led by Bill Belichick. The Pats defense lost a couple of prominent pieces, while the Phins added a lot of offensive firepower. I expect the Dolphins to win 28-17.

The Phins also have a bit of magic when they play the Patriots.

Week 2: at the Ravens

I believe the Dolphins are more well-rounded than the Ravens, but Tua could struggle against the Ravens secondary at this point in his career. I believe LJ has a slightly better game than Tua and the Ravens win by a clutch Justin Tucker field goal 27-24.

Week 3: vs the Bills

I expect the Phins to reach the playoffs, but they could have growing pains early in the regular season. In Week 3, I’m expecting Josh Allen and the Bills to beat the Dolphins 35-24.

Week 4: at the Bengals

The Bengals could struggle to block the Dolphins pass rush and I honestly love how the Phins match up to the Bengals secondary. Although, I’m not comfortable believing in the pass defense in Miami to slow down Cincy’s offense. I believe the Bengals win a close contest by a score of 31-28.

Week 5: at the Jets

The Dolphins will certainly bounce back against the Jets with an impressive 27-14 victory.

Week 6: vs the Vikings

I believe the Dolphins third-year QB will have a statement victory against a mediocre Vikings secondary 28-27.

Week 7: vs the Steelers

The Steelers have a hulk (T.J. Watt) and a few excellent toys on offense. I actually believe that Trubisky is underrated, especially in the Steelers offense. On the flip side, the Phins should hurt the Steelers Joe Haden-less CB group. I expect the Phins to win a close AFC matchup by a score of 24-20.

Week 8: at the Lions

The Phins should be able to mop the floor against the Lions pass defense and pick up a victory by a score of 35-17.

Week 9: at the Bears

Mike McDaniel and his squad were gifted two straight, very favorable match-ups by the football gods in Week 8 and Week 9. I believe the Phins pick up steam with a monster 38-17 victory against the Bears.

Week 10: vs the Browns

The Browns are a strong Super Bowl contender with Deshaun Watson after his imminent suspension in my opinion. I believe the Browns slightly edge out a Dolphins team that is a bit younger at the QB position. The Browns will win 35-28 in my opinion.

Week 12: vs the Texans

The Dolphins will unleash a lot of points against the Texans defense and I expect the Texans to have a few splash plays against Miami. Davis Mills could be similar to the sophomore version of the Dolphins QB in 2022. All in all, I believe the Dolphins win 35-14.

Week 13: at the 49ers

“Hello Darkness, my old friend”

McDaniel will need to dig deep on his new side, so he can throw his former master off the top floor. I believe the Phins can feel confident against Trey Lance while the Dolphins toys can definitely exploit the 49ers secondary. I believe the Phins win 28-21.

Week 14: at the Chargers

The LA Chargers have made massive strides this off-season and I feel they are one step ahead of the Dolphins. I believe the explosive Chargers offense with an unearthly passing rushing duo will edge out the Phins 35-28.

Week 15: at the Bills

The Bills are my Super Bowl favorite and they should sweep their divisional opponent in Miami. I expect the Bills to win 35-21.

Week 16: vs the Packers

The Packers quietly have an underrated CB group and I expect Aaron Rodgers with Christian Watson and a healthy Robert Tonayn to have success against the Phins defense. I believe the Packers win 35-28.

Week 17: at the Pats

I know BB will fight hard to not be swept by the Dolphins, but I don’t believe he can be a quality CB against the Dolphins exciting WR group. I believe the Phins win 31-24 in their second battle.

Week 18: vs the Jets

The 2022 Dolphins will finish on a high note against the Jets with a strong 28-14 victory.

Final record: 10-7

3 reasons why the Dolphins could play in Super Bowl LVII

Can the Dolphins reach Super Bowl LVII next season?

By: Jake Rajala

The Miami Dolphins have arguably made more glamorous off-season additions than any other NFL team. There are countless NFL critics and Dolphins followers that believe the new-look Dolphins could be the next surprise AFC team to compete in the big dance. With that enunciated, I’m going to untwine why the Mike McDaniel – Tua Tagovailoa sandwich and their impressive weaponry could compete in the big dance next season.

I am speed – Lightning McQueen

The Kansas City Chiefs second MVP in Super Bowl LIV was arguably WR Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs were down 20-10 halfway through the fourth quarter and the former blistering fast WR made a clutch catch on 3rd and 15 from Patrick Mahomes. The utterly obvious target on 3rd and 15 still made the catch and saved the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

All in all, one or two explosive plays are hard for any elite defense to prepare for and they make a big difference in the post-season. Outside of Hill being a routine playoff threat, Ja’Marr Chase really helped Cincy in the recent post-season, Percy Harvin was unstoppable in Super Bowl XLVIII, and Jacoby Jones was the Baltimore Ravens x-factor in their last Super Bowl journey.

Strength of schedule

The Dolphins should feel ecstatic about their 2022 competition, as they carry the 21st most difficult schedule next season. Meanwhile, the LA Rams have the most difficult schedule and the reigning AFC Champions Buffalo Bills have the 12th most challenging schedule in 2022. The Dolphins will also not only play the NY Jets twice in the season, but they should feel confident against the NE Patriots (as the Phins swept the Pats last season). If the Dolphins can win five games in their division, while squashing countless weak opponents, the Dolphins could have a nice seat in the post-season.

The demise of Kansas City and Tennessee

The Chiefs had the most gifted QB in the NFL last season and the Tennessee Titans claimed the 1 seed in the AFC last season. The Chiefs sent their best weapon (Hill) to the Dolphins and they also lost the Honey Badger. Outside of the fading Chiefs, I am quite confident the Titans will not repeat as the one seed in the AFC. The Titans lost AJ Brown and Derrick Henry’s ability is moving further away from his OPOY version. It does make sense that the Bills (aka not the Chiefs, Titans) are listed as the common betting favorite to win Super Bowl 57. Perhaps the ascending AFC team in Miami with an improved QB and familiarity against BUF could be the next unsung AFC Champion.

3 reasons why the Miami Dolphins could really win the AFC east

Who will win the AFC East next season?

By: Jeremy Trottier

The Miami Dolphins have become one of the more impressive teams over the course of this offseason by signing back their core free agents while bringing in new pieces to supplement the roster.  With this, they have pushed themselves into definite contention for the playoffs, and into a potential shot at the AFC East title this season.  In this article, I will cover 3 reasons why the Dolphins could win the division, as well as how they each impact their chances.

Tyreek Hill

The most blatant and recent reason as to why the Dolphins could take the division is the cheetah himself, Tyreek Hill.  There is simply no receivers in the game that are like him, and there are even fewer secondaries that can stop him.  His speed is what he is most known for as we all know, but his route running capabilities and his shiftiness allow him to get open in instances where his speed cannot. 

Did the Dolphins have to spend a lot of picks to get him?  Yes.  However, over the course of the next 5 years, this move pushes the Dolphins up to a deep playoff-caliber team simply put. 

Playmakers, both returning and incoming

Ok so we have talked about Tyreek, but lets talk about the rest of this star studded offense.  The Dolphins have rookie standout receiver Jaylen Waddle alongside Hill, as well as receiving tight end Mike Gesicki, both of whom return for 2022.  On top of that, their running game is getting better as well, with the addition of Chase Edmonds, as well as Myles Gaskin still on the team.

On top of all this, the Dolphins added a premier left tackle in Terron Armstead, who if he can avoid injury will be an amazing addition to protect Tua Tagovailoa.  While many have criticized Tua in recent months, with this amount of weapons, and some true protection on the OL, odds are he will be able to produce.

Division is in question

The final reason the Dolphins could take the AFC east, is well, the division itself.  Obviously the Bills have not lost a lot of talent, and rather added it with Von Miller.  However, the New England Patriots really have not exponentially improved this offseason, and still lack true playmakers on the offense to help out Mac Jones.  Then the Jets, who while they seem to be on the upturn, still have a lot of work to do to get up to the playoffs.

That leaves Miami and Buffalo, which is somewhat up in the air depending on how the remainder of their offseasons go.  Each team has a few holes, Buffalo being CB2 and the defensive interior (due to free agents), and Miami being IOL as well as linebacker.  Both teams have exceptional firepower, so Miami should definitely be in the top of the AFC East this coming season. 

Reliving the legendary career of Cameron Wake

Why Cameron Wake is a legend to the sport of football

By: Jeremy Trottier

Cameron Wake had one of the more impressive careers in the NFL for a pass rusher, and certainly had an interesting story on how he got to the league.  Wake spent 10 seasons in the NFL, and another 2 in the CFL, which is how he made his way up the ranks.  Cameron started off as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State, which led him to be signed to the New York Giants practice squad prior to being cut.  This led him to move onto a short-lived career with the BC Lions of the CFL, where he would accrue 39 sacks in 2 seasons and won the Most Outstanding Defensive Player both of the two seasons he spent there.  In 2007, he had a total of 23 sacks for BC, as well as 5 forced fumbled and 3 fumble recoveries, 1 for a touchdown. 

The Miami Dolphins would take a shot on Wake, signing him for the 2009 season, which spurred a career that essentially no one saw coming.  He would go on to make the pro bowl in 5 of the next 7 seasons (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016) as well as making the second team all-pro 3 times, first-team all pro once, and a heap of other records that he went for.  He is second all-time in Dolphins franchise history for sacks with the team (98) and is second all-time in sacks by a UDFA at 100.5. 

Wake’s best season in the NFL came when he got moved to outside linebacker (2012), as he would have 53 tackles and 15 sacks that year.  While Wake was most notorious as a Dolphin, and will primarily be remembered as one, his 100th sack came for the Tennessee Titans in 2019 against the Cleveland Browns, where he sacked Baker Mayfield 2.5 times and pushed himself to his final total of 100.5 sacks on a career.  Unfortunately, Wake’s last season was cut short after 9 games where he would be placed on IR and then cut.  Regardless, Cameron Wake is up in the list of undrafted free agents to make the league and thrive, and truly changed the game for the better by proving CFL players/players outside the NFL can still be elite when transferring. 

3 veteran QBs the Dolphins should target this offseason

Which QB should the Dolphins sign in 2022?

By: Khari Demos

The Miami Dolphins always seem to be an intriguing place for evaluating quarterbacks. With the selection of former Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 NFL Draft, it looked like the Dolphins had found their next best thing under center since Dan Marino.

But after two seasons, the jury may still be out on Tua. By comparison to his fellow 2020 draft mates, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow are considered to be in the elite QB club. Herbert was the 2020 NFL Rookie of the Year and followed that up with a Pro Bowl selection in 2021, while Burrow just led Cincinnati back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1988 season.

Meanwhile, for Tua, he’s had far more struggles and had similar numbers this season to players who may be considered lesser at the position.

But even with all the smoke and rumors about Tua, the Dolphins have brought in head coach Mike McDaniel, who similarly to owner Stephen Ross, has vowed to help get the best out of the southpaw QB. Just take a look at what the new HC said about Tua on Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine:

“I’m really excited moving forward because the guy has some skills that I think are untapped. I think it’s important that you empower the quarterback with the rest of the players around him and the scheme you bring forth. So, I think his best days are in front of him. And that’s a really cool piece of the process to be part of as a coach.”

Tua’s subtle athletic ability should fit well in McDaniel’s zone-run, bootleg-based system. The 38-year-old coach comes from the Shanahan coaching tree, having worked under both Mike and Kyle throughout his career. The movement and misdirection should work well for Tua as he enters Year 3.

So who should Miami target to back him up? I like it when teams add players who have similar skillsets to their starters, as well as guys who may have played under a coach before or in a similar scheme.

Also to consider, Chris Streveler is the team’s only other QB under contract for 2022, as the Dolphins enter free agency with a league-high $61. 2 million in cap space, according to Spotrac. Plus, with Tua’s injury history that includes a fractured hip at ‘Bama, as well as missing four games this past season, Miami needs a viable backup just in case he misses anymore action.

With all things considered, here are three names the Dolphins should highly consider bringing to their QB room.

Tyrod Taylor

One of the more experienced QBs on the market, Taylor no question fits the same mold as a player like Tua. Not only does he have high-level athleticism for the position, running a lot of play-action and boot game will be similar to what he did while in Buffalo. His 1,575 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns helped the Bills finish as a top-five rushing team twice in his three years as a starter, including his 2015 season where he was a Pro Bowl alternate.

Last season also showed that Taylor can still play, even in a limited fashion. Even with what many considered arguably the worst roster in football with the Houston Texans, the Virginia Tech product had a strong showing in a Week 1 smackdown of the Jacksonville Jaguars, before going 10 for 11 in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns before injuring his hamstring.

Once healthy, Taylor then helped Houston knock off the AFC’s eventual No. 1-seed in the Tennessee Titans in Week 11.

Similar to Tua, Taylor’s biggest issue seems to be health, as he’s missed action in three of the last four seasons. But that’s why he could make the perfect backup for Tua and something else to consider with Taylor is his recent history with young QBs.

Whether it was Herbert, Baker Mayfield, or Davis Mills last season, Taylor has been more mentor than impact player over the last few seasons. He did have his days in the sun leading Buffalo back to the playoffs in 2017, but his days as a starting QB are likely behind him.

But as a QB with a dual-threat skill set and prior experience as a starter in the NFL? That sounds like the perfect type of backup for a young signal-caller.

Colt McCoy

The former Texas Longhorn QB has had more downs than ups throughout his NFL career, but the 2021 campaign was his best yet, as he helped the Arizona Cardinals go 2-1 in a stretch without Kyler Murray. Even in a small sample size, his 101.4 passer rating, 54.5 QBR and 74.7% completion rate were some of the best marks of his career.

His best showing of the year came in a Week 11 win over Seattle. McCoy went 35 for 44 with 328 passing yards and two TDs.

So like Taylor, McCoy’s undersized stature (6-foot-1, 212 pounds) and movement ability would not only present similarly to Tua’s, but would also fit perfectly in McDaniel’s spin on the Shanahan system. The biggest issue here may be Arizona letting McCoy walk, as the Cardinals have noted how crucial it’ll be to bring him back for his 12th NFL season.

Marcus Mariota

This might be the zestiest name of the group for several reasons. First off, there’s still a lot of high hopes for a player that was selected No. 2 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Another dual-threat player at QB, Mariota could also be a fit for McDaniel’s system with his ability to roll out and get the ball out in a West Coast scheme. The former Oregon Ducks QB rushed for over 300 yards on three occasions as a Tennessee Titan.

But over the last three seasons, the 28-year-old has not put much tread on his tires, as he’s only played in 18 games since 2019 (including six starts). Things did not end well for the 2014 Heisman Trophy Winner in Nashville, so he had to find a different role in a different place, eventually landing with Las Vegas to back up Derek Carr.

Mariota did not see much action during his time with the Raiders, but he drew a ton of buzz for his performance against the Dolphins late in the 2020 season after Carr bowed out due to injury.

I think one other very underrated factor here is Mariota and Tua’s relationship. As two Hawaiian born signal callers, it has been stated how much the Dolphins’ starting QB has looked up to Mariota over the years, so there’d be a natural, mutual respect if he were to come to Miami.

So that may give the Dolphins an upper hand in terms of signing Mariota. But what could be the biggest roadblock for this deal is his desire to return to the starting QB ranks in the league. Here’s what he said during training camp last year in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Adam Hill.

“Absolutely,” Mariota said when asked if he keeps an eye on other QB situations throughout the NFL. “It is my goal (to be a starter), so I do keep tabs on what’s going on. For us as players, it’s kind of important to see what the landscape is. That being said, I enjoy this team. It’s a great organization to play for.”

That may be the biggest issue here for Miami. But if the Dolphins are able to convince Mariota to mentor a player in Tua that he’s mentored since the latter was in fourth grade, they could have a great QB insurance policy on their hands down in South Beach.

Why the Dolphins can really win the AFC East

Tua Tagovailoa can bring the Dolphins to an AFC East title

By: Cody Molla (@Cmolla1)

Far removed from dominating the division in the 70s and early 80s the Dolphins have won 4 division titles since 1985, and only two since 2000. The franchise and fans have their eyes focused on winning a division title and making a splash in the postseason. There is hype and expectations for the Miami Dolphins coming off a 10-6 season last year. Improvement is expected all around, and with that improvement do they win the AFC East?

The hype for this year comes off a strong 2020 season and strong offseason. However, the Dolphins aren’t the only team improved within the division. The Buffalo Bills return their core from last season that played in the AFC Championship game. The New England Patriots return players on defense that opted out of last season and have returned their quarterback for a second straight year who is more comfortable in his position within the offense. The New York Jets are completely turned over and though they don’t pose a threat to win the division in anyone’s eyes, they do have a chance to spoil someone’s season.

The biggest factor in winning the AFC East for the Miami Dolphins is to win their divisional games. Last year the Dolphins went 3-3 in the six division games. They swept the Jets, split with New England, and were swept by Buffalo. The Bills in perspective went 6-0. Winning division games is like winning two games in the standings, not only does it directly give you a game up on your rivals but it gives you tie-breakers which may play a role in deciding a competitive division winner. Yes! The AFC East is now a competitive division. The Patriots are no longer a juggernaut and three teams have playoff expectations placed on them.

To be division winners the Miami Dolphins will need to be 4-2 minimum in the six division games. More likely than not a record of 3-1 in games versus the Bills and Patriots would be necessary as well. This will be tested early in the season as their first two games are with New England and Buffalo.

These rivalry games will be competitive and a handful of key plays need to be made to seal the wins. Last year in a tight opener vs the Patriots the defense failed to stop Cam Newton and the Patriots run game. The Dolphins have the tools to do so this time around and score points to put New England away. As they did in the second meeting last year.

The first Bills game was completive but the Dolphins failed to contain the big pass plays from Josh Allen to his receivers. Part of this was an injured secondary that improved as the season went on. A slow start to the season this year will likely lead to the Dolphins failing to win the division again. A fast start and improved play is expected and will be key to winning the 2021 division crown.

After one game of 2021 preseason, the national narrative on Tua has piggybacked on their 2020 takes. In the preseason opener, Tagovailoa finished with a stat line of 8-11, 99 yards, and one interception. Tua played in three possessions in the first quarter and got the Dolphins inside the red zone twice on his final two drives. After having a full offseason knowledge of the playbook I saw an improved Tua in limited action. For those who didn’t watch the game and only saw the highlights you likely saw the big reception to Gesicki for 50 yards and the interception that drew large criticism. Yes, the interception was a poor decision. Whenever you throw a bit off rhythm late over the middle in the NFL bad things happen. What would the narrative be if that pass was completed for a touchdown?

What you didn’t see shown in all those highlights was a three and out to start the game, due to a dropped first down on a good corner route ball thrown by Tua that should’ve extended the drive. On the next two drives, Tua showed confidence, aggressive throws, and a handle on the playbook. These are all things he lacked in his rookie season. Tua has now had a full offseason, shown health from the hip injury, and an improved arsenal of weapons.

The Dolphins focused on making improvements around Tua and giving him weapons. Another reason I think Tua’s game is improved enough to win the division is that not all the offensive starters played in the preseason game. Tua defendants will tell you about the lack of weapons last year and how he was throwing to fringe NFL receivers. He did a lot of that in this preseason game and his improvements were noticeable.

Tua is a Drew Brees prototype of quarterback more than the playmaking strong-arm type like Mahomes, Rodgers, and Watson to some effect. Tua’s strengths are being accurate, on rhythm, and hitting receivers in stride allowing them to make the plays with their athleticism. He is not going to throw passes that travel 60 plus yards in the air downfield and cross body. The offense is built around Tua and it has the ability to score points as well as move down the field efficiently and often. Tua is the focus and key for the Dolphins offensive success and a division title.

On the other side of the ball, a huge part of the defense has officially been returned. After requesting a trade last month, All-Pro CB Xavien Howard and the Miami Dolphins came to an agreement on a restructured contract. Howard is coming off the best season in his career thus far and although 10 interceptions is hard to replicate I expect another strong season from X-man. The key will be health. Since coming into the league in 2016 he has 22 interceptions, the second-most in that span. He trails Marcus Peters by one despite playing 19 fewer games in that span. He has missed many games due to knee and ankle injuries.

With Howard, the Dolphins secondary is set up to be one of the best across the NFL. Playing opposite Howard is Byron Jones, who is a top 15 corner in his own right and could be a top 10 layer at his position. Along with the two highly regarded outside corners is a talented slot corner in Justin Coleman who is making his dolphin debut this year, upcoming player Noah Igbinoghene, rookie Jevon Holland, veterans Eric Rowe, Jason McCourty, and fellow youngsters in Nik Needham and Brandon Jones. The backend of the Dolphins defense is solid.

The third focus for the Dolphins winning the division is line play on both sides of the ball. The offensive line is the bigger focus. The preseason game versus the Bears didn’t show improvement on the offensive line. In fact, it prompted a trade for another offensive lineman. The Dolphins traded for Greg Little to seek another quality player. The offensive line struggled to protect Tua and open up running lanes consistently last year. Without an offensive line, it doesn’t matter what skill players you have. Look at the Chiefs superbowl performance. I don’t expect the offensive line to be one of the worst in the league but a slight improvement in all the young players will be a huge dividend. How much they’ve learned and improved needs to be seen.  

On defense, the line needs to create pressure and get to the quarterback more consistently. With the good coverage if the pressure gets home early and often the Dolphins defense will have a lot of turnovers and spend limited time on the field. First-round pick Jaelen Phillips was brought in to help with this area of concern.

The Dolphins return to a division title is in sight. A lot of the load falls on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. I believe Tua’s improvement from year one will surprise a lot of people and the addition of playmakers will help this offense a lot. With a strong defense and potent offense, the Dolphins have the capability of winning 12 games. The first two will be the tone setters and the pivotal ones to earn the title of AFC East Champ.

Expect the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the worst records in 2021

The worst NFL teams in 2021 will be…

By: Andy Davies

Plenty of uncertainty surrounds the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and Houston Texans going into the 2021 season. Their quarterback situations are far from clear and their overall rosters are mediocre at best.

The same goes for their head coaches, with all three going into their first seasons at the franchise. Neither of Dan Campbell, Nick Sirianni, or David Culley has been a full-time head coach in the NFL. Campbell is the only one to have some experience, with his spell as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015.

Here is why you should be expecting the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the three worst records in the league in 2021.

Saying Goodbye To A Franchise Legend In Detroit. Struggles For The Replacement

Matthew Stafford was the number one overall pick in 2009, with the entire city of Detroit hoping he would be the man to turn around the fortunes of the franchise. Despite three seasons of making the playoffs, the Lions and Stafford never won a single postseason game as the wait continues. The Lions remain the team with the second-longest period without a playoff win, their last taking place on January 5th, 1992.

Stafford had some great individual moments as a Lion, most notably his Mic’d up moment during his 2009 rookie season. In a week eleven game against the Cleveland Browns, he overcame injury to produce a moment of pure heroism. He played with a separated shoulder despite the efforts of the medical staff to keep him off the field, leading the Lions to a touchdown-winning drive.

Jim Caldwell guided the Lions to these playoff appearances but was not seen as good enough to take them to the next step. New England Patriots assistant head coach Matt Patricia was brought in but never took to life as head coach. The Lions had three consecutive losing seasons under the coaching of Patricia. They will hope that they have found their guy in Dan Campbell. His press conference was certainly not dull, with Campbell referring to “biting kneecaps”. As a former Lions player, he knows what it takes to play in the league. He also knows about the city of Detroit and his intentions are both positive and clear. If he is given time, he has the desire to bring the good times back to Detroit. However, he is inexperienced as a head coach and the roster is below average.

New quarterback Jared Goff has the potential to struggle. This is despite the drafting of offensive lineman Penei Sewell at seventh overall, a selection that had Campbell and new General Manager Brad Holmes very excited.

Despite his brilliant 2018 season that saw the Rams reach Super Bowl 53, Goff had a poor game and struggled in 2020 as he and head coach Sean McVay’s relationship deteriorated.

Goff struggled despite a plethora of offensive talent around him. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp form one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. He is going to a franchise that let go of their two best wide receivers and failed to replace them.

The Lions have a schedule that features the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, and Cleveland Browns. There are also two games against their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Bears. The Lions do not have it easy.

Prediction: 3-14

Trouble In Philadelphia; Reason For Hope?

The Eagles have seen three years of gradual decline after winning Super Bowl 52. The 2017 season saw the Eagles lift the Lombardi Trophy for the first time after two previous attempts.

Doug Pederson was the head coach to guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl but was fired after the conclusion of the 2020 season. His decision to bench rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts in order to lose and gain a higher draft pick appeared to be the final nail in the coffin.

Carson Wentz had an MVP caliber season before an injury derailed hopes of winning the award. Backup Nick Foles stepped in and guided the Eagles to the Super Bowl 52 win. He also stepped in a year later and guided the Eagles to a shock Wildcard Round win against the Chicago Bears, with thanks also going to a Cody Parkey missed field goal.

Both Foles and Wentz are no longer Eagles players. Out of the starters in that Super Bowl 52 win, only seven remain with the franchise. Their decision to draft Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson continues to be mocked by rival fans and nobody knows how new head coach Nick Sirianni will do in the role.

The schedule is mixed for Philadelphia. Whilst they face the New York Jets, Lions, and twice play the New York Giants, they also have to face the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.. This is as well as facing a rising Washington Football Team twice as well as playing the Dallas Cowboys both home and away.

Reports have surfaced in recent days of the Philadelphia Eagles being the favourites for Deshaun, with talks said to be “heating up”.

This could be a move that transforms the franchise. However, Deshaun Watson had his best statistical season yet the Texans only managed four wins all year. This proves that whilst it is very important to have a good quarterback, you need more around to be successful.

Unless the Eagles do something in what remains of the offseason, they will continue to be mediocre if their roster continues to be this poor. If they get offensive or defensive talent in the next one or two offseasons, then they are a team that will compete for years to come. Otherwise, the Eagles will fail to be a threat to both the NFC and NFC East.

This is why Deshaun should avoid the Eagles at this present time. He will be going into a situation no different to what he experienced in Houston.

Prediction: 4-13

What A Difference A Year Makes

Where do we start with the Houston Texans? The 2019 season saw them take a 24-0 lead against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round. However, they allowed 41 unanswered points as they lost 51-31. What has unfolded since in the following nineteen months has been reminiscent of a Greek tragedy.

Head coach Bill O’Brien, who also was general manager, made the unusual decision to trade star wide receiver, Deandre Hopkins. In exchange, the Texans received a running back past his sell-by date in David Johnson, one second-rounder and one fourth-round pick. O’Brien only lasted four games in the 2020 season as they finished the campaign with just four wins.

Since the conclusion of the 2020 season, franchise legend J.J Watt has left and there continues to be an uncertain future surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson. Houston’s quarterback requested a trade in January before allegations of sexual assault arose. These have lingered throughout the remainder of the offseason. It is unclear if Watson will play in the NFL at all in 2021 but even if he does, it is unlikely that he will be wearing a Texans jersey.

Houston has said they would listen to trade offers for Watson, with the franchise said to be wanting three first-round picks. They have also acquired Tyrod Taylor via Free Agency and used their first pick in the draft on Davis Mills in the third round. Even if the Eagles stick with Hurts, there will be plenty of other suitors.

Even with Watson, the Texans are light on the ground when it comes to elite talent. Linebacker Zach Cunningham and Laremy Tunsil are talents and despite adding Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram to the running back room, the roster is one of the league’s worst.

David Culley has developed somewhat of a worrying reputation after his time with the Eagles, Chiefs, and Baltimore Ravens. During his fourteen-season spell with the Eagles, his four seasons with the Chiefs, and two years with the Ravens, he had 0 wide receivers earn a PFF grade of 80 or above.

The Chiefs wideouts went an entire season without a touchdown under Culley. With a wide receiver room featuring Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins and Anthony Miller, this is not exactly a position of strength for the Texans. Culley is unlikely to see any of these receivers score high PFF grades.

Whilst the Texans might be playing the Jacksonville Jaguars twice and the Jets, they have a tough schedule. They will face the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks. Houston will also play the Los Angeles Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers as well as the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans twice.

They are unlikely to win many of these games. Fans should be expecting a difficult season.

Prediction: 2-15

Why the QB situation may prevent the 49ers from winning the NFC West

The 49ers QB spot is a question mark

By: Andy Davies

The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. Only the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers (both 6) have more Super Bowl wins than the 49ers (5). The 49ers’ five Super Bowls all came between the years of 1981 and 1994. They have lost two since, in the 2012 and 2019 seasons. The quarterbacks that led the 49ers to the Lombardi Trophy were Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young. Three of those five wins saw Montana as the starter and Young as the backup.

Young is seen by many as the best backup quarterback in history, considering the gold jacket that he earned despite many years as the backup to Montana. He would win a Super Bowl as the starter after the franchise moved on from Montana. Ever since Young decided to hang up his cleats, the 49ers have struggled to find his replacement. Have they found the guy in Trey Lance?

Perhaps, but here is why the quarterback situation involving Lance and current starter Jimmy Garoppolo could prevent the 49ers from winning the NFC West during the 2021 season.

Struggles Since Young

Jeff Garcia was the man to come in for Young. During his five seasons in the Bay, he threw for 113 touchdowns and 56 interceptions as well as 16,408 passing yards. He had a 35-36 record as a starter for the 49ers in the regular season and a 1-2 record in the postseason, meaning he never hit the heights of his predecessor.

Alex Smith was the number one overall pick in 2005, shattering Aaron Rodgers’ dreams. However, he was a good quarterback, not a great quarterback. Colin Kaepernick replaced Smith and took the 49ers to the Super Bowl. They ended up losing to the Baltimore Ravens in a game often called the ‘Blackout Bowl’. Kaepernick failed to live up to the standards he set that season.

He would be kicked out of the league for taking the knee in a protest against police brutality in 2016. He has not played a snap in the NFL since. Jimmy Garoppolo was traded from the Patriots to the 49ers midway through the 2017 season. He gave hope to the organization after winning all five of the games he started in 2017. The fanbase had hope going into the 2018 season.

Many non-49ers fans had San Francisco down as their dark horse for the season. A season-ending injury to Garoppolo in Week 3 saw the starting role shared between Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard. However, the 49ers finished 4-12 as they went into 2019 with the second overall pick. Nick Bosa was selected and transformed the defense of San Francisco and Jimmy G had the best season of his career. He threw for 3,978 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Despite these stats, Garoppolo saw his production limited in the NFC Championship game as the coaching staff decided to use more of their running game. This led to many questions leading to the Super Bowl. The 49ers threw away a ten-point lead in the fourth quarter as they would end up losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54.

Garoppolo was criticized heavily for an overthrown pass to Emmanuel Sanders that would have given San Francisco back the lead. His 2020 season saw a mixture of poor form and injury. During the 2021 offseason, the 49ers traded up with the Miami Dolphins to gain the number three overall pick. They took Lance with the pick, showcasing their intentions to eventually move off from Garoppolo. There is now talk of whether San Francisco and head coach Kyle Shanahan will start Lance in week one. The other scenarios discussed are either Lance coming in mid-season or sitting out the whole campaign as the backup to Garoppolo. The uncertainty will have a significant impact on the 49ers’ season.

The Strength of the NFC West

This is a problem that will affect all four teams in the best division in the NFL. There is a chance that all four teams can make the playoffs. Los Angeles has an exciting new quarterback in 2009 first overall pick Matthew Stafford. Both the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals have quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray that they would never dream of trading away. Meanwhile, the 49ers’ starting quarterback is largely unpopular by fans, due to a mixture of the overthrown pass in the Super Bowl, his poor 2020 campaign and his injury record.

San Francisco has the least trusted quarterback in the division. With the position being one of the most crucial in all sports, it does not bode well for a team when there is uncertainty in the position. Garoppolo may be benched at some point during the season for Lance. However, the 49ers would be putting a rookie that will still be learning the system into the toughest division in the NFL.

Learning From Mahomes, Jackson, Tua and Burrow

If San Francisco are to help Lance succeed, they will need to take some lessons from recent draft classes. Patrick Mahomes, widely seen as the best quarterback in the league, spent all but one game of his 2017 rookie season as a backup to Alex Smith. The Chiefs then traded Smith the following offseason and Mahomes has never looked back. In his first three full seasons as a starter in the NFL, he has reached two Super Bowls, winning one. He has also been crowned MVP and Super Bowl MVP and reached three successive AFC Championship games. All three have been at home. On the flip side, 2020 first overall pick Joe Burrow started in week one of his rookie year. He wouldn’t last the season, only playing ten games before injury curtailed his first NFL campaign. He was impressive before his injury but there are no guarantees he will be the same player when he returns.

Lamar Jackson was a backup to Joe Flacco during his 2018 rookie year but won the starting role midseason. He has since gone on to win an MVP award and is the future of the franchise. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins brought Tua Tagovailoa in mid-season but he struggled in his rookie season. He is seen to already be on the hot seat, with many feeling the Dolphins rushed him in. These examples all show there are reasons for the 49ers to be hasty when it comes to choosing when to bring Lance into the starting role.

Lance Or Garoppolo In 2021?

The 49ers will have to decide soon who their starter will be in 2021. Considering Lance has only played one full season (2019), he is likely to start the season as the backup. He only threw for a combined total of 31 passing attempts, two touchdowns and 1 interception across the 2018 and 2020 seasons, albeit the latter campaign being disrupted by the pandemic. He is likely to be a work in progress but his 28 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in 2019 mean that he is one for the future.

Garoppolo will likely start in week one but it was clear from the NFC Championship game that Shanahan doesn’t completely trust him.

Jimmy G is a capable quarterback but his health is a concern. Expect Garoppolo to remain as the starter provided the 49ers are winning games but for Lance to come in should Garoppolo either be injured or start the season poorly.

Should this happen, this will be the end of Garoppolo’s time in San Francisco. Depending on timing, he will then be traded either before the deadline or in the 2022 offseason.

Can The 49ers Returning Players Avoid A Repeat Of 2020?

This is key if the 49ers are to challenge for both the NFC West and the NFC. After earning the number one seed and reaching Super Bowl 54 during the 2019 campaign, San Francisco finished 6-10 in 2020 and bottom of the division. A ‘Super Bowl Hangover’ played its part but the main cause of such a decline was down to a colossal amount of injuries the team suffered. Along with the aforementioned Garoppolo, the 49ers also saw Bosa, Dee Ford, George Kittle, Raheem Mostert, Deebo Samuel and Solomon Thomas miss large chunks of the 2020 season due to injury.

San Francisco had 33 players reported questionable and there were 186 occasions when the 49ers reported a player on injured reserve. They had the second-most injuries of any team in the NFL over the past twenty years. Should all these players come back, then this 49ers roster will be one of the best in the league. This will make life much easier for whoever the San Francisco starting quarterback is.

However, from the strength of the division to the uncertainty at quarterback, San Francisco will find it tough to win the NFC West.

Predicting the Dolphins Record for 2021

What will be the Miami Dolphins record next season?

By: Cody Molla

Believe it or not, the NFL season is under two months away from the kickoff of its “Biggest Season Ever”. This is the motto the NFL is marketing as we approach the 2021 season that is newly expanded to 17 games this year. This expansion follows the NFL expanding the playoff field last season to seven teams per conference. As a result of the playoff expansion for the first time in the Wild Card era a team finished with 10 wins and was in eighth place in their conference. That team was the Miami Dolphins.

Surprising the league and fans all around the Miami Dolphins under then second-year head coach, Brian Flores and a two-quarterback system fell a game short of the playoffs last season. 2020 was a major bright spot for the Miami Dolphins who have been in a rebuild. They found something with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa despite his benchings down the stretch. Myles Gaskin emerged as a serviceable back for the offense along with emerging pass catchers in Mike Gesicki and the continued improvement of DeVante Parker. The strength of the team last season was the defense. Performing as a top defense all year really kept the Dolphins in games and won games with big turnovers and scores.

Heading into 2021 the Miami Dolphins needed to improve the offense. The Dolphins off-season was focused on building around Tua. They added a speedy deep threat in Will Fuller via free agency. Fuller bolsters the receiving core and adds a playmaker which they lacked last year. The Dolphins added some veterans to their offensive line in free agency as well. Adding Matt Skura who has played guard and center for the Ravens, as well as tackle DJ Fluker who played for Baltimore in 2020. Other offensive free agents include running back Malcolm Brown for depth and Jacoby Brissett who is a seasoned veteran backup quarterback. Losing Fitzpatrick Brissett is a solid addition. He has shown the ability to win games when given the opportunity. He also will have familiarity with the coaching staff from his early days in New England.

The offensive additions continued in the NFL Draft. With the sixth overall pick, Miami reunited former Crimson Tide teammate of Tua with wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Waddle missed most of his last season at Bama after suffering an ankle injury. Over his college career, he caught 106 passes for 1999 yards and 17 touchdowns. Waddle is an explosive impact player. He has sub 4.4 40 speed. He can play inside and outside, his hands and physicality allow him to win 50-50 balls even at 5’10 180 pounds.

The Dolphins also used one of their early-round picks on a tackle. Liam Eichenberg out of Notre Dame is better in the run game than pass protection but will likely see reps throughout his rookie season. The Dolphins also drafted a tackle in the seventh round in Larnel Coleman. Coleman is going to need to be coached up but will likely spend a majority of his rookie year developing.

Other skill players drafted include TE Hunter Long. Mike Gesicki broke out last year but the Dolphins added another offensive threat at the tight end position. The Dolphins also addressed the running back position with Gerrid Doaks in the seventh round. Doaks is a big back, bruiser running style from Cincinnati. Doaks also showed some good things in pass protection last year as Cincinnati was one of the better group of five schools last year.

The changes in offensive coaching will help this offense improve as well. Chan Gailey is no longer the OC and instead, there will be a tandem at OC between George Godsey and Eric Studesville. Both have much NFL coaching experience and will look to excel in new roles. Dolphins also have a new QB coach in Charlie Frye. Frye has a good connection with Tua and was his coach and mentor back when Tua attended the Elite 11 Quarterback camp. These moves will help Tua and the Dolphins offensive development as a whole.

It’s no secret the offensive success hinges on the quarterback. There are big expectations for Tua this year going into his second year. He won his first three starts in the NFL and finished his first year 6-3 overall. As a Dolphins fan, it was clear the play calls were basic when he was in the game last year. Tua explains why here, in this piece from Adam Beasley, Podcast: Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa’s candid comments | Miami Herald. Tua has been healthy throughout this offseason and will be able to fully develop his game and knowledge of the offense. This work is already showing as he has been excellent throughout the first week of training camp.

For all the improvement the Dolphins made on offense the defense needs to match their production last year. It may look gloomy on the outside right now for that as the Dolphins star CB Xavien Howard has publically expressed demanding a trade. Howard pulled down 10 interceptions last year, covered the best receiver on opposing offenses, and was named a First Team All Pro last season. That is a massive piece to the Dolphins defense. If Howard is no longer a Dolphin Miami will have Byron Jones and Noah Igbinoghene as the starting CBs.

Igbinoghene struggled as a rookie last season in limited action. However, he has elite speed and size. He has developed well going into his second year and will be needed with or without Howard this season. Noah will have a key role in returning the Dolphins to a top defense. Still, in transition from a receiver and good athlete to a true corner, this year is a big step in his development. He is potentially playing behind one of the top corner duos in the league and will need to play the slot. The Slot corner position was also addressed in free agency with former Seahawk Justin Coleman.

The Dolphins identity in 2020 was on defense. They finished as the sixth best scoring defense despite giving up 56 in the final week of the season. The Dolphins standout defensive play started in the secondary. Howard, new addition Byron Jones played CB 2, and veterans Eric Rowe, Bobby McCain, and rookie Brandon Jones contributed with playmaking in the secondary. The linebackers played the run very well with Elandon Roberts playing inside with Jerome Baker. Baker struggled at times in coverage and covering gaps in the run but it was passable play. The edge rushers didn’t get home at an elite rate but when they did convert their pressures into sacks turnovers were created. The combination of Van Ginkel, Ogbah, Van Noy, and Lawson forced nine fumbles on 25 sacks. The other key defensive stat was Miami was the best third-down team on defense allowing just over 31% conversions.

Miami spent two top picks on the defense. They used their own first round pick on edge rusher Jaelan Phillips. Phillips is a disruptive, explosive player from the University of Miami. Phillips gave up football in 2018 but he returned to “The U” and rebuilt himself. He has a high motor and the Dolphins need his pass rush and disruptiveness to succeed again.

The other high pick on the defensive side of the ball is safety Jevon Holland from the University of Oregon. Holland will replace McCain likely who was released. Holland plays aggressive and attacks. His versatility is also a plus and something Flores likes in his defense. Holland can play in the box and play the run as well as contest catches and cover.

The Dolphins also traded Shaq Lawson and in return received Bernardrick McKinney. McKinney missed a lot of last season with a shoulder injury but has proven his ability to play inside linebacker as a pro bowler in 2018. McKinney shores up the inside linebacker position and his versatility will replace the loss of Van Noy and Lawson.

If Miami can keep up the solid third-down defense, limit the big plays which they were among the league’s worst in 2020, and increase the pressure on quarterbacks the league’s best defense is attainable. This all starts with creating pressure. Wilkins and Davis on the interior line played well. Davis played the run well but didn’t create many pressures. Wilkins was the opposite, creating pressure but lacking in-run defense. A better balance and consistency from these two will anchor the defense.

Another key defender will be rookie Jaelen Phillips. The pass rush is the key to keeping this defense strong. They can cover! The coverage will get even better as the pass rush improves and the secondary can get more turnovers on rushed passes and attack the ball if they are covering for three to four seconds rather than five to six per play.

One of the most improved defenses in 2020 offers a lot of room for improvement in 2021 and will play a monster role in getting the Dolphins to the post season in 2021.

Dolphin’s fans are ready to get over the hump and end the playoff win drought that’s currently existed since the 2000 NFL season. Since the 2000 Wildcard round win the Dolphins have lost four straight playoff games. The next round in 2000, and loses in wildcard weekend in 2001, 2008, and 2016. With some bias, the drought ends this year.

Taking a look at the schedule the Dolphins opponents have a combined record of 128-144 in 2020. This .471 winning percentage is tied for the fifth lowest. This schedule is based on playing a second place schedule and having matchups with the NFC South. I am not a big fan of predicting records solely on last year’s opponent’s records as a lot of things change in the NFL. Players return from injury and new injuries arrive, Players move teams, coaches, and schemes also change.

Looking at the schedule, 2021 Miami Dolphins Schedule | the Dolphins will face a few playoff contenders early and the schedule eases up as we approach December. For the second straight year the Dolphins first two games are identical.

Opening at New England versus division rival Patriots and following that with a home game vs another division rival in the Buffalo Bills. These two games will be very critical. The Patriots are going to be improved from a down year last season. Cam Newton returns at quarterback and the Patriots return players on defense who missed last year via opt-out. The Buffalo Bills swept the Dolphins last season and established themselves as Super Bowl contenders with Josh Allen’s development. The Bills are also favored to win the AFC East. A 0-2 start would not be ideal but that is what happened last year. The loss to the Patriots is one that left them short of the playoffs. There is no need to add motivation to a week one game vs a division rival but that may be an added point by Coach Flores. I see the Dolphins starting 1-0. The next game vs Buffalo will be a tough game. The Dolphins failed to play competitively last year vs the Bills but fall short in a competitive Week 2 game.

The next stretch of games starts at the Las Vegas Raiders the teams matched up for a league-best game last season in which Miami won miraculously. Followed by the Colts, Buccaneers, Jaguars, and Falcons. At this point, the Dolphins will be 4-3. As a fan, I’d like to say 5-2 but I think a loss to the Bucs and Colts is possible.

The next game will close out the series with the Bills. This one will be in Buffalo on Halloween. The Bills Mafia will be rocking and I think another pivotal game here which the Bills win.

From Buffalo, the next five games leading to the bye are home vs Houston, home on TNF vs the Ravens, at the Jets, and two home games vs Carolina and the Giants. A 5-0 stretch here fuels the playoff push and puts the Dolphins at 9-4 heading into the bye.

Following the bye, the Dolphins win at home vs the Jets, lose a Monday night game in New Orleans, losing a tough game vs the Titans, and close out the season with a win at home against New England. This puts the Dolphins at 11-6 and good enough for a wildcard spot in the AFC.

As mentioned before Tua and company end the playoff win drought with a first weekend win and then lose in the divisional round.

This would be bitter-sweet as a fan. I feel the Dolphins do have the potential and capability to make it to a conference championship. I believe Tua can spread the ball around to playmakers, hit the deep pass consistently, and take care of the ball exceptionally well. The defense with or without Howard is good enough to create turnovers, generate more pressure than last season, and can improve on their marks from last year. The NFL season is as unpredictable as any sport. I think the Dolphins window of wins ranges between 9-12. Only time will tell. But I feel confident the Dolphins improve on their 2020 record and win 11 games and a playoff game this season! FinsUP!

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