Here it is. The dreadful season prediction. I spoke many times on the podcast about how I feel about preseason predictions. At this point, I feel it is now time. For those of you who are squeamish, you may want to stop reading now (I am only kidding).
I truly feel this season may not be as bad as many of the national outlets are predicting. Before I get into each game, with a brief summary and score prediction, here are some of the reasons I feel confident in improvement this year:
1. Adam Gase: He has a fire that hasn’t been shown here since the beginning of the Tony Sparano era (really just 2008 season). Gase is confident in his ability to get the most out of his players, particularly the QB, which leads me to..
2. Ryan Tannehill has best season yet: I will take the bashing from any of you, but does anybody else see something different in him? He has more command at the line of scrimmage, his footwork is steadily improving AND he is in sync with his WR. If I had to drop a way too early prediction, Tannehill goes for: 4,350 yards, 32 TDs and 14 INT. Passer rating and completion percentage will take care of itself, if these numbers hold true.
3. Defensive front 4 will have 45 sacks this season: I know, we haven’t seen it yet, but I truly feel good about Wake/Williams/Suh/Mitchell or Phillips as major disruptors. My worry is the guys behind them that cannot tackle. I hope it shores up before Seattle.
Now that I got that out of the way, here is my season predictions:
Week 1- @ Seattle – OUCH, not the place you really wanted the season to start. Seattle record at home since 2012 is a whopping 27-5 (.843). This is asking a lot for a young football team with a new coach : Seattle 27 Miami 17 (0-1)
Week 2- @ New England- Thanks NFL, second week in a row to a very tough place to play, at a stadium that Dolphins haven’t won in, since 2008 (Wildcat game). Jimmy Garappolo starts, but Miami takes advantage of good weather and no Brady. I feel an upset here:
Miami 27 New England 24 (1-1)
Week 3- vs Browns- Welcome to Hard Rock Stadium! Miami opens their home schedule with a Browns team looking for an identity under Hue Jackson. Dolphins put up points and take it at their newly finished $500 million dollar stadium:
Miami 30 Browns 21 (2-1)
Week 4- @ Cincinnati- Thursday night prime time game. The last time these two met, we had a Wake off. But with a healthy Andy Dalton and AJ Green, the Dolphins may meet their match, even though they have won the last 2 games against the Bengals
Cincinnati 24 Miami 20 (2-2)
Week 5- vs Tennessee- Miami absolutely obliterated the Titans on their home field last year. Mariota has another year of experience and the team added pretty good depth. This is going to be a lot closer than last years game:
Miami 20 Tennessee 17 (3-2)
Week 6- vs Pittsburgh- I have teetered on this game since looking at the schedule. Steelers defense and OL are glaring weakness, but they have Big Ben, the best WR in the league in Antonio Brown, and Le’veon Bell will be in, this smells like trouble:
Pittsburgh 34 Miami 28 (3-3)
Week 7- vs Buffalo- Ah.. the dreaded Buffalo Bills They have quite frankly, mentally own the Miami Dolphins as of late. Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins put a whoopin on this team last year. If healthy, the Bills should be able to put points up, but injuries on defense could mean they didn’t put up enough in this game:
Miami 24 Buffalo 20 (4-3)
Week 8- Bye Week (sit back and relax this week friends)
Week 9- vs New York Jets- The Jets, like the Bills, put a hurting on the Dolphins last year. Their defensive unit is strong. I am still unsure of what to make of their offense with Fitzpatrick, does he continue to play well for the Jets? Time will tell, but a last second field goal costs the Dolphins and important victory
NYJ 23 Miami 21 (4-4)
Week 10- @ San Diego- We all remember this embarrassing game last season? With another season in the balance in beautiful SD, Miami takes advantage of not so home field advantage to avenge last years loss:
Miami 27 SD 20 (5-4)
Week 11- @ LA Rams- Football is back in LA. The hard knocks featured team this year has a beast at RB in Todd Gurley and quite possibly the best front four on defense in the league. Can Ryan Tannehill out play any of the Rams 3 QBs, the answer is yes:
Miami 17 LA 13 (6-4)
Week 12- vs San Francisco- Chip Kelly brings the niners across country for a 1pm start time. With uncertainty all around that franchise, the Dolphins bring home their 3rd victory in a row:
Miami 27 SF 21 (7-4)
Week 13- @ Baltimore- This team has given Miami fits. Just can’t seem to find a win against these guys since the infamous 2007 win. IF Flacco is healthy, I give the nod to Baltimore. They just seem to find a way to win games against Miami. And being a cold winter day, it doesn’t bode well:
Baltimore 21 Miami 17 (7-5)
Week 14- vs Arizona- Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson on offense. Patrick Peterson and Honey badger on defense. This is a tough one to get at home:
Arizona 28 Miami 20 (7-6)
Week 15- @ NYJ- Primetime Saturday night game a week before Christmas. Miami finds rhythm and finds an upset on the road. We will likely thank Arian Foster for this grind-it-out victory on the road:
Miami 20 NYJ 17 (8-6)
Week 16- @ Buffalo- The house of horrors for Miami. I personally travel to see this game every year and every year I leave disappointed. I don’t believe I will feel much different:
Buffalo 28 Miami 14 (8-7)
Week 17- vs New England- Remember earlier I have Miami beating the Patriots on the road? Do you also remember just above this comment about the house of horrors? Tom Brady should be playing and he is 0-3 vs the Dolphins on the road in the last 3 seasons. Let’s make it 0-4 and secure a winning season for the first time since 2008:
Miami 28 NE 27 (9-7)
Yes I have high optimism, yes, I have them sweeping the Patriots. Am I wrong? Probably. Is this record unrealistic? We will see. But be rest assured, this team will be a different group to watch offensively, if the defense plays up to par, 9-7 is not a stretch. It is a realistic possibility. Ryan Tannehill keeps his job as QB of this franchise and Adam Gase is off to a great start.