Week 1: New England Patriots: Win
Miami has won three out of the last four against New England. The Patriots didn’t necessarily upgrade their team in any particular way on paper, making what some consider to be interesting choices during the draft. The New England wide receiving core lacks the talent to create space and make plays for their Quarterback. While he had a great rookie season, Mac Jones is still considered to be a limited Quarterback with a lot to prove. They lost a lockdown cornerback in J.C Jackson in the off-season, making it hard to imagine they will be able to cover both Waddle and Hill. The defense vs. offense mismatch Miami presents to New England will be too much for the Patriots to overcome on the road resulting in a win for Miami to start the year.
Week 2: Baltimore Ravens: Win
Baltimore will prove to be a more significant challenge for Miami as they have that deadly run game that they are dependent on. Miami won last year, but some consider that to be a handicapped win as the Ravens had suffered major injuries throughout their team. The loss of Hollywood Brown is huge as they lose a deep threat that forces teams to give space for their running attack. Miami’s new and improved offense should be too much for the Ravens’ defense to handle. If Miami can force Jackson to throw the ball, they should have an excellent chance to win this one.
Week 3: Buffalo Bills: Loss
Miami has made a lot of upgrades both offensively and defensively in order to catch up to Buffalo. However, this game is too early in the year to consider Miami to go 3-0 to begin the season. Miami does have the defense built to contend with the Bills as they have elite players in their secondary such as Howard and Holland. However, with all the new pieces Miami has acquired this off-season, there will be chemistry issues to begin the year. With intense rival games such as this, it is too early to consider something small as a chemistry miscommunication can cost a game, and it’s likely to be taken advantage of in this game.
Week 4: Cincinnati Bengals: Win
Many of the league and fans will consider the Bengals to be a top contending team because of their Super Bowl run last season. But historically, the losers of the Super Bowl have a significant regression of some sort. The Bengals have lethal weapons that can all take it to the house on the offense. It will be a challenge for Miami’s secondary to contain all wide receivers and their running game. The defense for the Bengals is their weak point as they don’t have anyone to cover Waddle, Hill, and Cedrick Wilson. The Bengals gave up about 352 yards per game last year, ranking in the bottom third of the league. Expect this one to be a high-scoring affair that Miami should walk away with the win.
Week 5: New York Jets: Win
The New York Jets are still a rebuilding franchise trying to catch up to the rest of the league. They are still a young team that needs to fill many holes for them to be competitive. At the same time, they had a great off-season and a great draft class with a lot of promising potential. This should be a win.
Week 6: Minnesota Vikings: Win
Minnesota has many good pieces on their team to be a playoff contender foundation. However, they are just missing a piece or two on defense to allow them to contain their opposition from outscoring them. The Vikings offense will be a problem for the defense as they have to stop Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson. However, some may consider Kirk Cousins to be why the Vikings’ offense does not perform at a higher level. If Miami can take advantage of the Vikings’ liability on defense and if they can force a turnover or two from Kirk Cousins, they should walk away with a win.
Week 7: Pittsburgh Steelers: Loss
Honestly, Pittsburgh is a Quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender, and Mitch Trubisky might be serviceable enough to carry this team with the weapons around him. They have an excellent offensive line, wide receivers, tight end core, good running backs, and a front 7. Their secondary can be questionable at times, but their pass rush makes up for the liability of their secondary most of the time. Miami’s offensive line will have a big test with T.J Watt applying pressure throughout the day. It will be a close game, but this may be one Miami gives up.
Week 8: Detroit Lions: Win
Detroit, like the Jets, are in rebuild mode. While they had a good off-season and a good draft with a lot of potential, they are still missing many pieces needed to contend. It should be noted that Detroit plays very hard and was in many positions to win games last year that they didn’t. This is by no means a guaranteed win, and Miami will still have to play hard this game.
Week 9: Chicago Bears: Win
The Bears are in rebuild mode like the Detroit Lions and the New York Jets. They are missing many pieces needed to contend, and Miami has the better team overall. With the Bears, lack of offensive line, and their question mark at Quarterback, Miami should walk away with a win.
Week 10: Cleveland Browns: Loss
If Watson is playing, the Cleveland Browns have the most complete team in the NFL. On offense, they have the best running back duo in the NFL with Hunt and Chubb. Their offensive line is one of the best in the NFL, and Watson is a top 10 Quarterback (potentially as he has missed time. We do not know if there will be a drop-off in his play). This will be a hard hill for Miami to climb. Possibly the most challenging game on the schedule.
Week 11: Bye Week
Week 12: Houston Texans: Win
The Texans are another team that is in rebuild mode. They are missing many pieces to compete, and this should act as an excellent rebound week after a potential loss to the Browns.
Week 13: San Francisco 49ers: Win
This will be a tough win for Miami, but because of Mike McDaniels inside knowledge of the team, Miami walks away with the win. The 49ers are a potential Super Bowl contending team depending on their Quarterback. If Jimmy Garappolo is the starter, he limits this offense like he has the past couple of years. If the starter is Trey Lance and flourishes to his potential, this game becomes harder for Miami. This was most notable in the playoff game this past season vs. the Rams as he kissed key throws that cost the 49ers the game.
Week 14: Los Angeles Chargers: Win
Logically, many people will have the Chargers as the favorites to win this game. With the off-season that the Chargers had, it is understandable. However, with the Chargers being in the AFC West and constantly playing tough opponents there is reason to believe that Los Angeles will be fatigued by the time they get to this point in the season. There is also the game two years ago where Miami made Herbert look lost in that game. Talent-wise, there is reason to believe that these teams are on equal terms. This will be a challenging game for Miami but a must-win if the league is going to take Miami seriously as a contender.
Week 15: Buffalo Bills: Loss
Now, most people will think it’s a bad sign to be swept by their division rival, but this loss will be because of the weather factor in Buffalo around this time of year. As Miami is a warm-weather team, it will be tough to win in Buffalo around this time of year. This game will be more competitive than week three as Miami will be more tuned with their chemistry.
Week 16: Green Bay Packers: Win
The Packers regressed this off-season, losing Devante Adams. They don’t have a true number one wide receiver on the roster, and Miami has a secondary built to defend any elite passing attack. With Miamis upgrades this off-season on paper, outside of Quarterback, they have the better team. Miami should walk away with a win here.
Week 17: New England Patriots: Win
Miami swept the Patriots last year, and there’s no reason to believe they cannot sweep this year. The Patriots get a lot of credit for their amazing pedigree and accomplishments. Miami has jumped New England in terms of talent and should take care of business.
Week 18: New York Jets: Win
Miami sweeps the Jets as they are rebuilding. There is a chance Miami rest starters this game depending on the standings but Miami should take care of business here.
Overall record: 13-4: Miami has a weak schedule with a few challenging games to watch. It will be concerning if they have a losing record this year. This should be a boom year for Tua and the team, as many young players should start to flourish.