After analyzing the Dolphins 2016 schedule, there is ALOT of potential for ‘stormy seas’ and some ‘Frozen Fins’ going into this season. It’s hard to analyze a schedule and predict wins/loses five months before the season begins but let’s give it a shot, shall we?
Travelling to Seattle in Week 1 with a new offense AND defense is too much to ask of this Dolphins team. The “12 Man” will be in full force and the Seahawks defense is just too good. Seattle 24 Miami 13 (2016 Record 0-1)
Week 2 finds Miami having to travel BACK across country to face the New England Patriots. If Brady ends up serving his four game suspension, I would pick a Dolphins victory but, as of right now, Brady is scheduled to be on the field and Miami has not won in Foxboro since 2008 (aka “The Wildcat Game”) New England 30 Miami 20 (Record 0-2)
By now the Dolphins, and their fans, are hungry for a victory and Week 3 brings “just what the doctor ordered”, the woeful Cleveland Browns. Miami will be opening their season, showcasing their new canopy roof at “The Stadium to be Named Later” (or, as I will always call it “Joe Robbie Stadium). and they are just the superior team. Barring a “Jags-esque” collapse, Miami 27 Cleveland 10 (Record 1-2)
Closing out September, Miami is on the road for the third time in four weeks to face the Cincinnati Bengals. Even without departed OC Hue Jackson, the Bengals just have too much firepower for the Dolphins. Cincinnati 27 Miami 18 (Record 1-3)
A new month brings new hope! Miami begins a four game stretch at home against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. Tennessee played Miami tough until Mariota was knocked out of the game but they still ‘earned’ the first pick in the ’16 NFL Draft. Once again, Miami is too much for the up-and-coming Titans. Miami 27 Tennessee 20 (Record 2-3)
The Steelers hit ‘South Beach’ in Week 6, bringing the kind of ‘hard-nosed’ team that always gives Miami problems. Ben, Brown, and Bell are just too much for Miami. Pittsburgh 24 Miami 17 (Record 2-4)
Week 7 brings Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills. Tyrod Taylor’s Bills ‘hanhandled’ Miami twice last year. However, Buffalo won’t have perennial ‘Dolphin Killer” Mario Williams terrorizing QB Ryan Tannehill. THIS year, Williams will be ‘hunting buffalo’. Miami 23 Buffalo 16 (Record 3-4)
BYE WEEK – For the first time in recent memory Miami gets a favorable bye. Miami can use this week to rest/rehab for the second half of the season.
Miami finishes the aforementioned 4-game home stretch by hosting the New York Jets. Todd Bowles club is going to be physical and daunting just like last year, however, Miami is well-rested and the Jets will wilt in the 4th quarter. Miami 20 NY Jets 14 (Record 4-4)
In Week 10, Miami flies cross-country for the second time this season to face the San Diego Chargers. These teams are pretty even but the home team has won the last 6 meetings. San Diego 21 Miami 17 (Record 4-5)
In a logical (and, frankly, FAIR) move the NFL is allowing Miami to stay in California for back-to-back weeks to square off against the ‘newly minted’ LOS ANGELES RAMS! I have a tough time predicting a winner here. All the factors seem to be working against Miami, not to mention a stellar Rams D, but I can’t get past the fact they are probably starting a rookie QB in this game. Regardless of WHO has been HC, Miami has feasted on rookie QBs so, in a mild upset. Miami 17 LA 10 (Record 5-5)
As Thanksgiving comes around, Miami is able to ‘give thanks’ that they get to play host to a VERY dysfunctional San Francisco 49ers team. If Colin Kaepernick is still on the roster for SF, he isn’t a very happy person. If he’s NOT on the roster, and maybe even if he IS, then Miami is welcoming Blaine Gabbert to town. There are no ‘easy wins’ in the NFL but THIS and Cleveland are as close as Miami is going to get. Miami 31 SF 17 (Record 6-5)
As the calendar turns to December, not only do the games get more difficult but, with three potential snow games on tap, the Dolphins could start to feel a little frostbite on their fins. First up, a trip to Baltimore. While I don’t believe the weather will be much of a factor, the Ravens play the type of physical ball that makes Miami crumble (last year’s UGLY 15-13 win aside). Baltimore 24 Miami 14 (Record 6-6)
Week 14 sees Miami hosting the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona is considered a Super Bowl contender entering the year. Unless Carson Plamer is injured, I just can’t envision a way that Miami can win this game. (Sorry) Arizona 27 Miami 13 (Record 6-7)
Miami finishes up the season with three consecutive divisional games, two on the road. Miami travels to the Meadowlands in Week 15 as the next chapter in Jets/Dolphins is written. Without the heat/rest factor, Matt Forte & Brandon Marshall prove too much for a still thin Dolphins secondary. NY 27 Miami 16 (Record 7-7)
Buffalo on Christmas Eve…what could go wrong? I expect it to be C-O-L-D in Ralph Wilson Stadium when Miami faces off against the Bills. I have no real reason WHY I expect Miami to pull out this game BUT they do. Miami 17 Buffalo 14 (Record 8-7)
Week 17 finds Miami hosting the New England Patriots. If Brady WAS suspended, New England needs this game for playoff seeding. If he isn’t suspended, New England needs this game for a HIGHER playoff seeding. NE 30 Miami 20 (Record 8-8)
Well, there you have it. Another mediocre Dolphins season BUT with the moves, and cap maneuvers they made this offseason, did you really expect playoffs?