The Miami Dolphins “trial by fire” to start the 2022 NFL season

Mike McDaniel(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Mike McDaniel(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

With the Miami Dolphins working together and preparing for the upcoming season, they will have an uphill battle facing them when for the 2022-23 season.

Although, like many Dolphins fans, I am hopeful for the team to do well with the changes that have been made on offense.  With the schedule released, I wanted to highlight some of the matchups in an early look at the schedule.  The schedule offers some worthwhile matchups on both sides of the ball.  For this, I’m gonna take a look at the Dolphins’ offense against the opposing defenses for the first month of the season.

Week one, the New England Patriots come to town.  Have the Patriots taken a step back after Tom Brady took his talents to Tampa? Yes.  But I’ll get into that in another article when I look at matchups for Miami’s defense.  The Patriots’ defense lost J.C. Jackson this offseason and the defensive backfield is lacking a shutdown type of player that Jackson was, which should pose well for Miami’s receivers to do well against.

The Dolphins’ revamped offensive line is where I will pay attention.  Starting off the season with a division rival that Miami swept last season will give the team confidence going into the game and new acquisitions Terron Armstead and Connor Williams at left tackle and center (apparently) should help solidify a line that has struggled more often than not.  As has been reported, Williams looks like he may be shifting from guard to center, which could see last season’s center Michael Deiter, shift back to guard.

The Patriots’ defensive line and linebackers have some familiar faces as Davon Godchaux and Raekwon McMillan are currently on the roster for defensive coordinators Steve Belichick and Jerrod Mayo.  Seeing how the offensive line protects Tua Tagovailoa against the Patriots’ defensive scheme and pressure and helps establish a much needed run game for Chase Edmunds, Sony Michael, and company will go a long way to show that the Dolphins’ and the new coaching staff made the right choices this offseason.

In week two, the Dolphins face a more difficult test with a game on the road in Baltimore.  The offensive line for Miami will face a tougher challenge against a better defensive unit for the Ravens.  Calais Campbell and Justin Madubuike are on the edges of the defensive line that should see both Derek Wolfe, and third-round selection, Travis Jones in a heavy rotation.  The defensive front looks ready to build off of their performance last season when they only allowed 1,436 yards on the ground.

My eyes though will be on how the receivers for Miami perform against what looks like a tough secondary for the Ravens, Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphery, and Ravens first-round selection Kyle Hamilton will be a difficult match-up for Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Cedrick Wilson, and company and should be a battle to gain yardage for the Dolphins offense.

Next. Predicting the Miami Dolphins record against the AFC East. dark

I would look for the mismatches that could be created for the Dolphins to succeed and score in this game.  Also, how will the passing attack create opportunities on the ground for any opportunity to gain yardage on the ground against the Ravens, one of the toughest defenses in the league?

Week three brings yet another division rival to South Florida with the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills had a very good defense last season as they only allowed 2700 yards passing and 1800 yards rushing in 2021.  This offseason saw them add veteran linebacker, Von Miller, to a defensive front that included Greg Rousseau, Ed Oliver, and Tremaine Edmunds.

This will be the Dolphins’ second straight week facing an extremely stout defense.  The battle in the trenches is again where my eyes will be for this matchup.  The revamped offensive line and gameplan will have their hands full with the defense of the Bills.  After being outscored 61-11 in the two games against the Bills last season, seeing how the team steps up to the challenge will speak to how the season will be.

Like many of you, I have liked a lot of what I have seen with the offense and the possibilities that Coach McDaniel and company can accomplish.  The creativity will have to be there to create the opportunities needed to be successful in this contest and that begins with the offensive line.  Veteran additions, Armstead and Williams will be pivotal in this matchup as the younger players look to them for adjustments to elevate their game as well.

With the new coaching, I like many would welcome seeing a positive leap from Deiter, Liam Eichenberg, and Robert Hunt to make this line one of the best in the league.

Mike McDaniel
Mike McDaniel (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

Week four ends one crazy trial by fire for a new coaching staff and brings a primetime showdown against the defending conference champs the Cincinnati Bengals.  The defense for the Bengals is formidable and isn’t the same team that lost to the Dolphins in 2020 at the Hard Rock.

In this matchup, I’m looking forward to seeing how the Dolphins’ receivers look against the secondary of the Bengals, especially under the primetime lights of the Thursday night game.  Von Bell and Jessie Bates III anchor the secondary as well as corners Eli Apple and Chidobe Awuzie.  first and second-round draft picks Daxton Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt should see heavy rotation as well.  The matchup I’m most curious about will be Cedrick Wilson potentially lining up against Awuzie, his former teammate in Dallas.

That brings the first month of the season, arguably one of the toughest starts in the league, to a close for the Dolphins and the new coaching staff.  Like many, I have hope and confidence that the new staff will maximize the potential of the offense and utilize an already solid defense to get into the playoffs and make deep runs toward the Super Bowl.

This first month will certainly have the Dolphins in some challenging spots from the start and surviving this stretch by either splitting or winning more will set the tone for the rest of the season and how much of a climb it will be.  Here’s to hoping they will have the best starting month the team has had in quite some time.