Miami Dolphins: Prediction: 8-8
They’ll get their starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill back after missing the entire season with a torn ACL. In the two years in Adam Gase’s system, he thrown for 7,203 yards, 43 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. Tannehill has the opportunity to show the team that he can comeback from the injury and get the job done.
There was the emergence of running back Kenyan Drake after they traded Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles as the starter. He ran for 644 yards on 133 carries (4.8 yards per carry) and four total touchdowns. He had a 120 yard performance against the Broncos and a 114 yards versus the Patriots.
On defense, Reshad Jones had another Pro Bowl year at strong safety. He had 122 tackles, which was the most by a defensive back in the league, two interceptions and five pass deflections. Defensive End Cameron Wake had 10 sacks at age 35.
One of the reasons for their underachieving season was how porous their defense was. They ranked 28th in scoring defense, 16th against the pass and 14th against the run. They may have been middle of the pick in yards but they gave up way too many points. They cut Ndamukong Suh to get out of his six year, $114 million contract he signed in 2015.
Another issue was DeVante Parker, the former 2015 first round pick. He was supposed to have a monster season last year, according to the coaching staff. But he had another disappointing season finishing with 57 catches for 670 yards and one touchdown while battling ankle problems. With the departure of Jarvis Landry, he has to prove to the coaches that he can take the next step as a leading receiver.
The MVP is rookie defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. The 11th overall pick out of Alabama was arguably one of the best players in the draft. Fitzpatrick can play at corner, nickel, safety and linebacker. He has the makeup as a do it all player. The former Nick Saban prodigy can help bolster their young secondary and make it to one of the top defenses in the league.
The guy that people should look after is Xavien Howard. He is in position to have the breakout season. According to Pro Football Focus, he has allowed a 39.2 QB rating from Weeks 10 through 17. Last season, he had 48 tackles, 13 passes defended and four interceptions. If he plays well, he could be in the discussion of one of the best CB’s in the games.
Reason for Prediction
The first part of their schedule, eight of their first 10 games will be against teams (Titans, Jets, Raiders, Bengals, Bears, Lions, Texans, Jets) that didn’t qualify for the postseason. But after the bye, they’ll have to face three teams that have aspirations of the winning the Super Bowl (Patriots, Viking and Jaguars) and it’ll be tough for them to make the playoffs.