There are less than three months before the 2022 NFL season gets underway. In what has been a frantic offseason for the franchise, there appears to be a lot of optimism from fans going into the campaign.
Brian Flores was fired after three seasons and has been replaced by rookie head coach Mike McDaniel, who impressed during his time on the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff.
Along with a new head coach, we have also seen plenty of personnel changes within the team. With DeVante Parker being traded to the New England Patriots as one of the most surprising moves this offseason. There was an extension for Emmanuel Ogbah and Xavien Howard, as well as tight end Mike Gesicki being franchise tagged. However, it is the new faces that have caused the most excitement.
Super Bowl-winning wide receiver and likely Hall of Famer Tyreek Hill was traded from the Kansas City Chiefs for an array of draft picks. The offensive line has been somewhat improved with the Free Agency signings of Terron Armstead and Connor Williams, and Hill is not the only new weapon to arrive in Miami. Playing alongside Hill and 2021 sixth overall pick Jaylen Waddle is running back Raheem Mostert. If he can stay healthy, then Miami arguably has the three fastest players in the entire league. Cedrick Wilson offers excellent depth at the wide receiver position after arriving in the offseason, and there is a lot of positive noise about 2022 third-round draft pick Channing Tindall, who offers excellent depth to the linebacker room in South Beach.
Despite a wonderful run down the stretch, the Dolphins missed out on the playoffs by just one game for the second year running. So just how will Miami do this season? Here is a game-by-game prediction of their record coming to the halfway mark of the regular season.
Week One (vs. New England Patriots)
Miami has had an excellent recent record against their long-standing rivals, with three straight wins. This is one of the first time in years that Miami are the favorites to outperform New England, and this will follow into the season as the Dolphins will start the season 1-0.
Prediction: Miami wins 27-17
Miami record: 1-0.
Week Two (at Baltimore Ravens)
Miami earned a shock win against Baltimore in 2021, a victory that kickstarted their great run.
The Ravens were a victim of injury issues last season and posted a scary threat when everyone is healthy, and this is the key if they are healthy. Say what you want about Lamar Jackson’s arm, but Miami has never been great at stopping the run, despite being 14th in 2021 for rushing yards allowed (1,867).
Lamar will pose a threat, which could cause the Dolphins’ defense problems. However, Baltimore also finished dead last when it came to passing yards allowed in 2021 (4,472). With two speedsters in Hill and Waddle, expect this game to be a shootout.
Prediction: Miami wins 38-35
Miami record: 2-0
Week Three (vs. Buffalo Bills)
If Miami is to at all be competitive in 2022 and beyond, they need to start beating Buffalo. They last beat the Bills in December 2018, when they won 21-17. However, it has not been pretty since, with Buffalo winning their last seven and quarterback Josh Allen being 6-1 against the Dolphins.
Since they last beat Buffalo, they have lost by a combined score line of 258-123 across those seven games. Something needs to give for the Dolphins to challenge for the AFC East once again, but they will have to wait longer to break this hoodoo. Buffalo is one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl, and the aforementioned trade of Hill from the Chiefs to Miami means they are seen as the favorites to win the AFC as Kansas City is now weakened.
The Bills are too strong in every position and will give Miami nightmares once again.
Prediction: Buffalo 35-20
Miami record: 2-1
Week Four (at Cincinnati Bengals)
Speaking of winning the AFC, the Bengals’ Cinderella story saw them win the AFC and come close to beating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 56. We saw Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase light up the league despite the former being the most sacked quarterback in 2021 (51).
They have gone out and addressed this need in the offseason, getting Alex Cappa, Ted Karras, and La’el Collins in Free Agency before drafting offensive tackle Cordell Volson in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
They have beefed up their biggest weakness, which will only see them get better. There is a 2020 NFL Draft feel to the game as the number one overall pick Joe Burrow will face off against the fifth overall selection Tua Tagovailoa. Unfortunately for Tua, Burrow will make Miami wish they fully tanked.
Prediction: Cincinnati 23-17
Miami record: 2-2.
Week Five (at New York Jets)
The Jets had arguably the best draft, but they are still a ways behind Miami in their rebuild. Zach Wilson has been given the weapons and protection he needs, and we could see them take an early lead. However, Miami has only lost twice in the last twelve meetings, and their good run against an AFC East rival will continue here.
The strength of Miami’s roster will be evident.
Prediction: Miami 30-10
Miami record: 3-2.
Week Six (vs. Minnesota Vikings)
Both teams go into this game in 2022 with new head coaches. Mike Zimmer was let go after eight seasons as head coach, ending with a 72-56-1 record. Kevin O’Connell is the new man in charge in Minnesota, and the 37-year-old comes in with plenty of street cred after being the offensive coordinator for the Rams the past two seasons, and we all know what happened last season.
Having worked with Cooper Kupp, Miami should be wary of the impact of Justin Jefferson against their secondary. Xavien Howard and Byron Jones will need to be at their best to stop him.
There was a lot of noise; no team needed a fresh start more than the Vikings. Things went stale for Zimmer, and along with McDaniel, a new head coach could make all the difference. Minnesota to edge it.
Prediction: Minnesota 27–20
Miami record: 3-3
Week Seven (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)
For the first time since the 2003 season, the Steelers will begin the season without Ben Roethlisberger after the two-time Super Bowl champion called it a day.
Whether it is Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett under center, by the time week, seven appears, Miami’s defense will feast on them and give the visitors a tough day.
There is an edge to the game with Flores, now the Steelers’ linebackers coach, who will want to get revenge on his former team. T.J.Watt won Defensive Player of the Year last season, and he will also be something that will feast on the opposition offensive line.
This will be a defensive slugfest, but one that Miami will overcome.
Prediction: Miami 20-10
Miami record: 4-3
Week Eight (at Detroit Lions)
Detroit won the hearts of the many last season, and they could be the dark horses of the season, but Miami should find it no issue getting the win in this game.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff struggled against Miami back when he played against them for the Rams in 2020, and he will be set for another difficult afternoon.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Deandre Swift, and second overall pick Aiden Hutchinson will cause problems for Miami during this game, and expect Detroit to give as good as they get. However, Miami will be a threat through the speed of Hill and Waddle, but their running back by committee will stand out in this game, with Detroit, the fifth-worst team for rushing yards allowed in 2021 (2,296).
Prediction: Miami 27–21
Miami record: 5-3
Week Nine (at Chicago Bears)
Things do not look good for the Bears this offseason, and they could be the team with the number one overall pick in 2023.
New head coach Matt Eberflus will have his work cut out this year, with star players Khalil Mack and Allen Robinson both leaving, and they did not have a draft pick until the second round.
The Bears traded up to take Justin Fields in 2021, but he has yet to show himself as a starting NFL quarterback. If he struggles, the backups at the position are Nathan Peterman and Trevor Siemian, who share 44 touchdowns and 39 interceptions.
Fields have no one to throw to and are behind a bad offensive line. One of the best moves this offseason was Miami keeping defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, which will help keep the status quo.
Prediction: Miami 33–3
Miami record: 6-3.