2021 Record: 9-8 3rd AFC East
2022 Win Total: 8.5
Over 8.5 -155
Under 8.5 +125
Yards Per play: 29th 4.8
Yards per pass attempt: 28th 6.4
Offensive QB Sack percentage: 18th 6.11%
Yards per run: 31st 3.5
3rd down conversion rate: 13th 40.77%
Turnover Margin: 16th 0.0
Yards Per Play allowed: 12th 5.3
Yards per pass attempt allowed: 9th 6.4
Yards allowed per rush: 18th 4.4
Defensive QB sack rate: 6th 7.32%
Notable losses: Brian Flores HC, Duke Johnson RB, Phillip Lindsay RB, DeVante Parker, Mack Hollins WR, Albert WIlson WR, Isaiah Ford WR, Salvon Ahmed RB, Jacoby Brissett QB, Will Fuller V WR
Notable additions: Tyreek Hill WR, Mike McDaniel HC, Cedrick Wilson Jr WR, Chase Edmonds RB, Raheem Mostert RB, Sony Michel RB, Mohamed Sanu WR, Teddy Bridgewater QB, Terron Armstead LT, Connog Williams C, Melvin Ingram III LB
1st Round Draft Pick(s): N/A
Strength of schedule: 19th (1 Easiest, 32 Hardest)
Given their expectations, the Dolphins had the worst start to the season in the entire NFL. For a team that wanted to make the playoffs, starting 1-7 quickly extinguished those hopes. What’s worse is that of the nine games they won, these are the teams they beat: Patriots (twice), Texans, Jets (twice), Panthers, Giants, Ravens, Saints. Only the Patriots made the playoffs of those teams and they didn’t even make it out of the wild card round. It gets worse when you think of the quarterbacks they faced for those victories. They faced the following signal callers in their victories: Mac Jones (twice), Tyrod Taylor, Lamar Jackson, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, Mike Glennon, Zac Wilson, Ian Book. Mac Jones, Zac Wilson, and Ian Book were rookies last season. Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor are currently backup quarterbacks. Cam Newton and Mike Glennon are no longer on NFL rosters. That leaves just Lamar Jackson as the only notable QB the Dolphins beat in 2021 that wasn’t a rookie. Needless to say, the Dolphins 9-8 record seems suspect given their competition. Head coach Brian Flores was fired after the season ended, setting up a series of lawsuits against both the NFL and the Dolphins.
Starting with the running game, the Dolphins added some exciting new pieces. Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, and Sony Michel will likely all see playing time and each one of them provides a different skill set. Miami also added three time pro bowler left tackle Terron Armstead. Hopefully these additions as well as getting Tua back healthy can improve their yards per run which was 2nd worst in the entire NFL. In the passing game, the Dolphins made further additions by adding Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson. Hill has shown the ability to win games on his own, and Wilson filled in nicely for the Cowboys. Combine those two receivers with Jalen Waddle and Mike Gesicki and you have every weapon you could imagine for a dynamic offense. Now for the elephant in the room which is at quarterback. Last season Tua ranked 23rd in yards per attempt, 18th in QBR, and 19th in QB rating. To put it in perspective, Tua ranked below the following quarterbacks in QB rating last season: Jared Goff, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, Matt Jones, Jimmy Garoppolo. He barely beat Davis Mills, and Ryan Tannehill in that same category. At some point the Dolphins may have to make a quarterback change which I think may happen as soon as week 5. New head coach Mike McDaniel will have to implement a system that worked for other subpar quarterbacks such as Jimmy G in San Francisco. I expect the offense to look much better compared to last season, but Tua may keep this team from being a legit playoff contender.
On defense the Dolphins were respectable last season and I think that will only improve this year. Up front the Dolphins have nothing but experienced players in Zach Sieler, Raekwon Davis, and Christian Wilkins. It’s a similar story for Miami at the linebacker position. Elandon Roberts, Jerome Baker, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Andrew Van Ginkel all return for their 4th or more season. The Dolphins also added linebacker Melvin Ingram III who should provide some nice depth. In the secondary the Dolphins have elite cornerback Xavien Howard, and hopefully cornerback Byron Jones assuming he is healthy for week one. What is impressive is that the Dolphins only have one player starting on defense that is not on their 3rd or more season in the league. I would expect this side of the ball to have great chemistry and to improve as a result.
Factoring out the quarterback position, It’s shocking to see the Dolphins win total so low. They improved at every position they were weak at on offense, and have kept their defense nearly perfectly intact. They got a new coach that learned from the greatest offensive mind in football. The only thing stopping this team from making a solid playoff run is Tua. I’m skeptical he will play as well as the Dolphins need him to, especially given a more difficult strength of schedule this season. With how poor Miami played against meaningful opponents last season, I’m not comfortable betting over 8.5 at -155. Instead I’ll take under 8.5 wins at +125, and would expect to see Teddy Bridgewater starting for this team at some point.