The Miami Dolphins had a good 2020 season, finishing 10-6 and just missing out on the final AFC Wild Card spot.
Miami wound up second in the AFC East despite rotating its quarterbacks in and out of the lineup.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a strong season and performed better than rookie Tua Tagovailoa, but it’s Tagovailoa’s team now with Fitzpatrick signing with Washington.
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Miami has a strong defense and a good group of pass-catchers. For the Dolphins to build on their 10-6 season and compete in the AFC, they need to see a definitive improvement out of their young passer.
Miami Dolphins 2021 Schedule
The breakdown for all NFL teams can be found on BetUS, as we take a look at all things Miami Dolphins. First, their 2021 schedule:
|Week 1||Sept. 12||at New England|
|Week 2||Sept. 19||vs Buffalo|
|Week 3||Sept. 26||at Las Vegas|
|Week 4||Oct. 3||vs Indianapolis|
|Week 5||Oct. 10||at Tampa Bay|
|Week 6||Oct. 17||vs Jacksonville|
|Week 7||Oct. 24||vs Atlanta|
|Week 8||Oct. 31||at Buffalo|
|Week 9||Nov. 7||vs Houston|
|Week 10||Nov. 11||vs Baltimore|
|Week 11||Nov. 21||at New York Jets|
|Week 12||Nov. 28||vs Carolina|
|Week 13||Dec. 5||vs New York Giants|
|Week 14||Dec. 12||BYE|
|Week 15||Dec. 19||vs New York Jets|
|Week 16||Dec. 27||at New Orleans|
|Week 17||Jan. 2||at Tennessee|
|Week 18||Jan. 9||vs New England|
As a reminder, the NFL has expanded their regular season to include a 17th game, so the entire regular season is now 18 weeks long.
This is a relatively difficult schedule for the Dolphins. In the division alone, the Buffalo Bills are expected to build on their 13-3 2020 season, while the New England Patriots are bound for a better season.
Miami has some tough road games on the schedule, heading to New Orleans, Tennessee and Tampa Bay in 2021.
The Dolphins will also face off against the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts, two teams that made the playoffs last season.
You can bet win totals on BetUS for all NFL teams, and the Dolphins 2021 season wins is set at over/under 9½ wins.
The easiest games on Miami’s schedule are the two they get against the New York Jets along with games against the New York Giants, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers also offer winnable games, so Miami should be right on the cusp of its win total by season’s end.
Miami Dolphins News & Picks
Miami Dolphins 2020 Summary
Miami’s 2020 season will likely be remembered for the constant shuffling at the quarterback position.
On more than one occasion, the Dolphins brought Fitzpatrick off the bench due to Tagovailoa’s on-field struggles. It didn’t help Tagovailoa’s confidence that Fitzpatrick authored multiple comeback wins to keep Miami alive in the AFC playoff race.
Ultimately, it was not enough. With a chance to clinch the final Wild Card, the Dolphins were blown out in Week 17 by Buffalo, losing 56-26.
Tagovailoa finished the season with 1,814 passing yards on 64 percent completion, throwing 11 touchdowns to five interceptions.
The Dolphins leading receivers were DeVante Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki. Parker caught 63 balls for 793 yards and four touchdowns while Gesicki had 703 yards and six scores.
When breaking down the team’s metrics as a whole, the Dolphins skewed slightly better on the defensive end.
Football Outsiders ranked Miami’s defense as 11th best in the league while Pro Football Focus graded the Dolphins defense 15th.
On the offensive end, Football Outsiders had the Dolphins at 18th and Pro Football Focus had them 22nd.
Miami Dolphins Key Players
The Dolphins franchise starts with their first-round pick from 2020, the aforementioned Tua Tagovailoa.
Still extremely young, Tagovailoa has the weapons to take a leap in his second season. Miami has a window to be competitive now and needs more consistent quarterback play to make the playoffs.
Cornerback Xavien Howard is the leader of this Miami defense. Howard had an incredible 2020 season, intercepting 10 passes and deflecting 20 more. His continued dominance in the secondary will go a long way in keeping Miami in the mix.
Parker and Gesicki both remain and are a big part of the offensive game plan, and their lives may have been made easier by recent additions this offseason.
Miami Dolphins New Additions
Miami prioritized getting Tagovailoa weapons this offseason, evidenced through both free agency and the NFL Draft.
The Dolphins signed explosive deep-threat receiver Will Fuller in the offseason. Fuller was having his best season as a pro with Houston before being suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Fuller will miss the first game of the season as he finishes out his sentence.
The Dolphins doubled down on speed, selecting Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle sixth overall in the draft.
Miami had another first-round pick in 2021, selecting defensive end Jaelan Phillips at 18th overall.
The Dolphins then focused on improving their offensive line, a weakness in 2020, and bolstering their secondary.
With two second-round picks, Miami selected safety Jevon Holland and offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg.
The Dolphins added Jacoby Brissett to back up Tagovailoa in 2021.
Miami Dolphins Key Subtractions
Miami let Fitzpatrick head to Washington. The team also traded left guard Ereck Flowers to Washington.
Miami traded edge rusher Shaq Lawson and lost another edge, Kyle Van Noy, in free agency.
Miami Dolphins Divisional Outlook
The Dolphins are going to have a hard time unseating the new kings of the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills.
With an explosive offense and a strengthening defense, the Bills look poised to maintain their division crown in 2021.
After Buffalo, Miami and New England should fight it out for the second-spot. Based on divisional odds at BetUS, the Dolphins are being viewed as the second-best team in the division.
Miami should be fighting for a Wild Card again in 2021, with an outside chance of winning the AFC East.
Last season, the Dolphins went 3-3 in the division, losing to Buffalo twice and New England once.
In 2019, when Miami finished 5-11, the team went just 2-4 in the AFC East.
For the rest of the AFC East and NFL, explore our team pages here.
Miami Dolphins Offense
With both Waddle and Fuller now on the offense, defenses are going to have to respect the deep ball. This element was sorely lacking last season and should open everything up for the Dolphins.
Running back Myles Gaskin had a fine 2020 season before missing time due to injury. Gaskin averaged 4.1 yards per carry and caught 41 balls, scoring five times.
The Dolphins’ offensive line graded out as a bottom-10 unit in 2020 and will need to improve to reach its potential.
Again, this Dolphins offense will go as Tagovailoa does. Rookie quarterbacks should be given some leeway for growth, but this is a pivotal year for the franchise to gauge what they have at the most important position in football.
Miami Dolphins Defense
As mentioned, no player is more important to the Dolphins defensive success than Xavien Howard.
Defensive end Emmanual Ogbah and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins anchor the defensive line in Miami.
Ogbah finished with 9.5 sacks in 2020 while Wilkins disrupted plays on a regular basis. Both are returning in 2021 and will play a large role in how well the defense performs.
With multiple contributing edge rushers leaving in free agency, a player to keep an eye on is rookie first-round pick Phillips. The young defensive end is being counted on to come in and be an impact player immediately.
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