With training camp still ahead of us and most off-season changes in the rearview mirror, there’s little for a football fan to do in the month of July. And so, rather than face the nihilistic dread that is foisted upon us on a daily basis when forced to deal with the idea of a year without football, let’s pretend we can predict the results of the Dolphins schedule for the 2020 season.
This will be a four part series, examining each game of the Dolphins schedule in sequence and taking into account all the factors to work out how successful this iteration of the Dolphins will be.
Week One: @ Patriots (0-0)
The Dolphins start the season off with a doozy. Cam Newton sits with a chip (or a boulder) on his shoulder in New England, where Bill Belichick drools at the opportunity to prove he doesn’t need Tom Brady to win games. Belichick and the Patriots have consistently had the Dolphins number.
If there is any small blessing it’s that Miami doesn’t have to travel into Gillette Stadium in the winter, and the fact that Belichick’s team consistently blooms late. Though Brian Flores’s defense really began to gel in the later half of the year, it underwent a great deal of change in the offseason, and their first game back is against one of the best coaches in the league. Add in the fact that the Dolphins are an exceptionally young team with little prep time, we’ll give this close game to a fired up Newton and the Patriots.
Week Two: Vs Buffalo (0-1)
Miami’s challenging start continues with their home opener. The Buffalo Bills had a strong showing last season, and appear to have only improved. The addition of Stefon Diggs has mixed expectations considering Josh Allen‘s deep accuracy issues, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which he’s not an improvement to their offense. Furthermore, while Allen struggled at times last year, he harangued Miami’s defense in both showings.
Miami’s defense will most likely still be going through growing pains that will glare against the scramble-happyAllen. Additionally, Buffalo’s defense has only grown stronger since their stellar 2019 season (2nd lowest points allowed). The young Miami team will most likely struggle against a playoff worthy Bills, losing their first meet with Buffalo.
Week Three: @ Jacksonville (0-2)
Miami’s sole primetime game comes in week three against the Jaguars. It’s also their lone short week, seeing them take a quick 350 mile jaunt up the coast. Legendary Walking Mustache Gardner Minshew II showed a great deal of promise for a Jaguars franchise that has seemed adrift since their playoff showing in 2017. He also showed remarkable chemistry with wide receiver DJ Chark, who will try to build on that rapport across from rookie reciever Laviska Shenault.
The Jaguars defense also improved after a year in which they proved they could pressure the QB well (25.8% of the time, good for 6th in the league), but not much else. All in all, this is a match-up between two teams in the midst of a search for progress, and should be entertaining. It’s a toss-up, so the homer in me will call it for the Dolphins.
Week Four: Vs Seattle (1-2)
Next on the Dolphins Schedule is the Seattle Seahawks. The most interesting thing to watch as the Seahawks travel to Miami in week four is going to be the matchup between the Dolphin’s much improved secondary and the Seahawks passing attack. Russell Wilson remains one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and the additions of pass catchers Phillip Dorsett and Greg Olsen alongside Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf begs defenses to try and stop them.
The Legion of Boom may be gone, but Pete Carroll is one of the best defensive minds in the game and always finds a way to make things work. Miami will be hard pressed to slow down what should be an explosive offense, and should probably be outscored in this game. Tragic as it is, they fall to 1-3.
First quarter season recap (1-3)
Four games into the Dolphins schedule and it doesn’t look good. But fear not stalwart fin-fans, all is not lost. Anticipate that most teams without a strong foundation are going to struggle out of the gate this year. The disruptions to the offseason and training cycle are going to give advantages to those teams that are already in sync with one another.
Can Miami overcome these problems and improve their record down the stretch? Check back in with Time Skew as I continue to break down the season, one game at a time. And as always, don’t hesitate to comment with your thoughts and tell us how you agree or disagree.