The Miami Dolphins’ 2023 schedule was released in May, but what games should fans watch in particular?
It was an encouraging season in 2022 for the Dolphins under rookie head coach Mike McDaniel.
The team made the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season and saw huge strides made by Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (when he was healthy).
With the addition of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, this offseason has led to plenty of excitement from the fanbase that this could be the year.
They need to win when it counts if they are to make a deep playoff run. Here are three key games to keep an eye on in the 2023 campaign.
Week 7 @ Philadelphia Eagles
This will be a true test for the Dolphins on the road in Philadelphia. Whilst week one and four sees the Dolphins face a road game against the Los Angeles Chargers and the Buffalo Bills, respectively, there are fewer tougher tests than taking on the NFC Champions.
The Eagles are seen by many as the favorite for the NFC, and the Dolphins will hope to show the world on Sunday Night Football that they can compete with the best.
Despite Tua’s improvement in 2022, he struggled in many of the big games, most notably the games against the Chargers and San Francisco 49ers. If Tua can perform against this Philly defense how he did home and away against the Bills, provided they go into the game with no more than two losses, then this can show the entire NFL that they are a team to be reckoned with.
Week 9 vs. Chiefs (Germany)
The Tyreek Hill return to Arrowhead may have been moved to Germany, but this is a fantastic chance to show they are a team to consider once again. However, despite it being in Germany, a recent study shows that this will be a game with plenty of fans turning up from Europe.
In fact, according to Sportskeeda.com, the Chiefs were the fourth most followed team in Germany in 2020, with the Dolphins in eight. The Dolphins were also fourth in a Statista.com study for the most followed team in the UK.
In a battle between the fourth-most followed team in Germany against the fourth-most followed team in the UK, this is likely to get a genuine fanbase rather than a fan of every team, as seen with most NFL London games.
Suppose the 2020 game between these two and the atmosphere in last year’s Munich game is anything to go by. In that case, Frankfurt should be treated to quite the spectacle, with an atmosphere fitting of what is, on paper, the best-ever matchup for any International Series game in history.
On the field, what is not to love? Patrick Mahomes versus Jalen Ramsey and Jevon Holland, Hill playing against his old team and the best tight end of all time in Travis Kelce, a win for the Dolphins in this game would surely cement their place as a contender.
Week 18 vs. Buffalo Bills
By the time Week 18 comes, Dolphins fans will hope there is still something to play for. The predictions for who will win the AFC East are fairly split.
Some feel the Bills will still be the dominant force, whilst others think they will take a step down. No one knows whether the New York Jets are getting an Aaron Rodgers of 2020 or the Rodgers, we saw in 2022. If we get the 2020 and 2021 MVP versions, then the Jets will be contenders.
If this is the case and the Dolphins are also in the mix, then we should be treated to a tense and exciting final day of the 2023 regular season.
With the Jets taking on the New England Patriots at the same time, the Bills and Dolphins players might be looking over their shoulders at the score. On the field, this could be a hugely important game in the battle to either make the playoffs or win the division.
Miami will have the advantage of being at home for this one, and they will hope that they will end this game as division champions.