The 2021 NFL schedule has finally been released! And it’s time to make our way too early and slightly irresponsible prediction for the Miami Dolphins!
The expectation in Miami is playoffs or bust! The Dolphins finished the 2020 season just barely missing the playoffs with a 10-6 record. A lot of fans in Miami felt they should have made the playoffs, but unfortunately, they dropped a couple of games along the way that they “should have won.” Other factors to consider are the Dolphins had the most snaps in the league taken by rookies, Tua coming off a major injury, and an offensive coordinator that was better suited for Ryan Fitzpatrick than Tua Tagovailoa.
The expectation in Miami is playoffs, will they finally get back in or will their tougher opponents prove to be too much?
Week 1 Prediction @ New England: 0-1
The Miami Dolphins will be opening the season once again in Foxboro. The New England Patriots are a tough divisional rival and playing in New England is no easy task. They do not lose many games at home. The Patriots are also getting back some key players who opted out in 2020, most notably in Don’t’a Hightower. They made some big free-agent splashes on both offense and defense. Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Trent Brown, and Nelson Agholor on offense. On defense, they are adding former Dolphins Raekwon McMillan, Davon Godchaux, and Kyle Van Noy. As well as Matt Judon and Jalen Mills. For Miami, they will be without their prize signing in Will Fuller due to his suspension. Miami will also be rolling out their offense from new coordinators Eric Studesville and George Godsey.
Week 2 Prediction vs Buffalo: 0-2
For the second year in a row, the Dolphins will be starting out with the same schedule for the first two weeks. The Buffalo Bills come to Miami as another tough divisional matchup. They may not have done a whole lot to make changes on their roster, but they didn’t need to. They won their first divisional title since 1995 and first AFC Conference Championship appearance since 1993. The Bills, with Josh Allen, have tormented the Miami Dolphins winning each of the last five matchups. The Dolphins are hoping their additions on defense, Jaelen Phillips, Benardrick McKinney, etc will be able to contain Allen and change the tide of their luck. Miami is looking for revenge from an embarrassing Week 17, 56-26 loss. Miami Will be debuting their new-look offense for the first time in full force with Will Fuller coming back from his suspension
Week 3 Prediction @ Las Vegas: 1-2
The week 16 victory against the Las Vegas Raiders has been easily the most talked-about game from the Dolphins 2020 season. It was a fourth-quarter thriller that saw several lead changes, Fitzpatrick’s Miracle Magical Pass that set up the game-winning field goal. Even though they won the game several members of the national media seem to have totally forgotten that, saying more than once on live T.V. that the Dolphins lost the game. And why is that? Because everything has been overshadowed by the second benching of rookie QB Tua. While the Raiders added some nice pieces in the draft Tua will be a little extra motivated in this one.
Week 4 Prediction vs Indianapolis: 1-3
The Indianapolis Colts are a good playoff-contending team. There are lots of questions surrounding new QB Carson Wentz. But pairing him up with Colts head coach and his former offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, should solve a lot of the issues he was having in Philadelphia. This team should be better with Wentz at the helm than it was in 2020 with Philip Rivers.
Week 5 Prediction @ Tampa Bay: 1-4
Week 5 may be the toughest matchup all season for the Miami Dolphins. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the Super Bowl defending champions. They brought back all their free agents. All their coaches returned. This will be Tom Brady’s second year playing with this offense and with this coaching staff. The good news for the Dolphins is Tom Brady does not have a good history of playing the Dolphins in Florida. However, this time is different than every other. It’s not at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Tom Brady and co will be the ones playing at home. Where they just won the Super Bowl.
Week 6 Prediction @ Jacksonville (in London): 2-4
The Jacksonville Jaguars finished the 2020 season with the worst record in the league. With the additions of Trevor Lawrence & Travis Etienne in the first round of the 2021 Draft, paired with James Robinson, and a solid WR group this offense has the potential to outperform expectations. The Dolphins have not fared well when playing in London, but this time Flores and his Amoeba defense will prove to be too much for rookie QB Lawrence.
Week 7 Prediction @ Atlanta: 3-4
The Atlanta Falcons, in the 2021 NFL Draft, added TE Kyle Pitts to what was already one of the league’s most talented receiving corps. This offense may be the biggest test for Miami’s defense all year. Some question if Miami choosing not to take their BYE Week here will prove costly as London is 5 hours ahead of Miami. It won’t. NFL teams bounce all over the United States and across multiple time zones all the time. Literally every week. A 5-hour difference to London should not be that much different than the 3-hour difference to California.
Week 8 Prediction @ Buffalo: 3-5
Ditto the excerpt of week 2 but this time it’s in Buffalo. The Dolphins get lucky in not having to play in Buffalo in the middle of the winter, but the Dolphins still don’t seem to have an answer for Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bill’s offense.
Week 9 Prediction vs Houston: 4-5
Assuming Deshaun Watson does not suit up for the Houston Texans in 2021 they are favorites to be selected #1 overall in April 2022. The roster has question marks at just about every position. The coaching staff is… confusing? The front office is a mess. This should be, by far, the easiest game on the schedule for Miami.
Bonus Prediction: Houston Texans become the first team to go 0-17
Week 10 Prediction vs Baltimore Ravens TNF: 4-6
The Baltimore Ravens have blown out the Miami Dolphins in three straight matchups. Just how bad are we talking? The combined scores of the 3 games is 137-16. On top of that, the Ravens have won 8 of the last 9 meetings between the two clubs. And in all honesty, should be 9 for 9.
Week 11 Prediction @ New York Jets: 5-6
The New York Jets did not finish last season with the worst record in the league, but they very well just may have been the worst team. Certainly was the most incompetently coached team. New head coach, Robert Saleh should have this team performing to a much more respectable level than Gase had them in 2020. However, this is still a team that is far from complete. And again, Flores with his Amoeba defense will be too much for rookie QB Zach Wilson.
Week 12 Prediction vs Carolina: 6-6
The Carolina Panthers in 2020 were not a good team. In 2021, despite having a good draft and the return of Christian McCaffery, may be an even worse team. Why? Because they traded for QB Sam Darnold. The Panthers recognized they needed to upgrade their QB position, but instead of drafting Justin Fields (second-best QB in the draft) or Mac Jones, they elected to trade for one that sees ghosts.
Week 13 Prediction vs New York Giants: 7-6
Daniel Jones is one of the young QBs who one week he looks like he could be a franchise QB and the next… not so much. With young QBs, you want to see them progressing from year to year. And while Jones did finish 2021 with two more wins than the previous year his play went down. In a major way. Getting Saquon Barkley back and the addition of Kenny Golladay should help this offense a lot. The New York Giants will finish at the bottom of the NFC East.
Week 14 BYE
Week 15 Prediction vs New York Jets: 8-6
Ditto above. The Jets will be much improved from the 2020 team that was coached by Adam Gase. For the second year in a row, the Dolphins will sweep the New York Jets. Bonus: The series between the clubs is tied 55-55-1
Week 16 Prediction @ New Orleans MNF: 8-7
Drew Brees is retired. However, this team cannot be taken lightly. Many fans feel this is an automatic win because the New Orlean Saints will be quarterbacked by either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill. However, this is a very deep and very talented team overall and head coach Patrick Sean Peyton is one of the best out there at tailoring his offense to best suit whichever QB is under center. In 2019 and 2020 Drew Brees missed five games and four games respectively, and the Saints didn’t miss a beat. Oh, and WR Michael Thomas will be back fully healthy after missing most of 2020 with injuries.
Week 17 Prediction @ Tennessee: 8-8
The Tennessee Titans had one of the worst defenses in the league in 2020. Giving up on average 27 points per game. The Titans lost several key offensive pieces in free agency including offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. Derrick Henry is still Derrick Henry and there isn’t much stopping him. Ryan Tannehill has been playing like a top 10 QB in the league, and no matter how much Dolphins fans hate it, in several categories, he’s been top 3 since joining the Tennessee Titans. They drafted a top cornerback prospect in Caleb Farley and signed linebacker Bud Dupree. Dupree, by the way, will be playing with a major chip on his shoulder after several national media outlets called him one of the worst decisions made by an NFL team this off-season. By week 17 the Titans will be rolling and in the thick of the playoff race.
Week 18 Prediction vs New England: 9-8
2021 sees the Miami Dolphins opening and closing the season against the New England Patriots. As mentioned above, they got back some key players that opted out, and in a very non-Patriots like move signed even more top free agents. The biggest thing two watch for in this game will be who is starting at QB for the Patriots by week 17? The general thought is Cam Newton will open the year as the starter. But in recent years he’s been only a shell of his former MVP-self. Will he continue that downward trend or will he bounce back in his second year in Josh McDaniels’ offense with better weapons? Here’s to hoping the football gods bless us with a Tua Tagovailoa vs Mac Jones Bama QB showdown!
Final Result: 9-8
Many are expecting the Miami Dolphins to finish the 2021 season with a better record than they did in 2020. However, in 2020 they greatly exceeded the expectations of most. While a 13-4 record and a playoff berth sound great, it just might not be doable for the Dolphins this season. The schedule in 2021 is much harder for the Dolphins. Take heart though Dolphins fans. A slightly worse record and missing out on the playoffs is not a total disappointment of a season. If we see improvement from our young offensive line, if Tua takes the much-anticipated leap, if our defense can continue to play stout and the offense gets good production from players like Waddle and Fuller, we will be set up for a bright future with many years of deep playoff runs.