Earlier this month, we took a stab at predicting the 2023 Miami Dolphins season game-by-game and we pegged the Dolphins vs. Chargers as a week one win for Miami.
Since then, we have learned that the Dolphins depth at cornerback has taken a hit with Elijah Campbell out and starting left tackle Terron Armstead will miss the game. At RB, rookie De'Von Achane will be out and Liam Eichenberg will start next to Kendall Lamm at left guard.
Does that change the prediction of a win?
In early September I saw a Dolphins team primed to take a game against a very good offensive team and a much improving defensive unit but I'm not so sure of that anymore and if we are taking off our aqua colored glasses, putting them on the desk in front of us, and looking at this realistically, Miami could be in a for a long day.
I want so badly to be the homer here and I will most definitely be screaming at my television. My wife opted to work a later shift to avoid having to come home when the game is going on. Smart woman she is.
The problem that I see is that early in any team's season, offenses tend to struggle more than defensive units. That isn't a good thing for a Dolphins team that has one starter on the Oline out, another than maybe shouldn't be starting (Eichenberg) and another who is coming off a season long injury after playing at a mediocre level the two years prior (Jackson).
On defense, Miami is going to find a tough go of it as well. With the corner situation unsettled opposite Xavien Howard, there is opportunity for Justin Herbert to make big plays.
For all of these injuries and unknowns, the biggest unknown is how the players will execute Vic Fangio's offense. If this game plan is done well, the Dolphins will keep Herbert guessing and making mistakes.
As fans we want to believe that the 3rd and 15 plays will not be picked up by opposing offenses like we have seen from DCs in the past. Remember that horrible 6 man stack on the goal line against the Chargers last year by Josh Boyer on 3rd down?
Fangio won't make those mistakes. Will McDaniel on offense?
This game should be one that favors the Chargers and across the betting boards, the Chargers are favored by three. That indicates a pretty close game.
I would love to tell you that Miami will eek this one out but with the offensive line issues, I see this as a task Miami may not be ready for this early in the season. As such, I think that makes a big difference in the game and keeps Miami's offensive powerhouse grounded unless Tua can utilize his dump off and outlet receivers. Sadly, I think he tries to feed Hill and Waddle far too often.
Prediction: Chargers 32 - Miami 27
And with every inch of my soul I hope that is the other way around. One thing is for certain, we will have a much better idea of what this team is after today's game and we will know where they are weaker at.
Ok...I just can't leave this like this ine week one. Homerism at it's best! Miami 32 - Chargers 28.