The Miami Dolphins hopefully have their franchise heading in the right direction, but they could drop a game or two early.
Although some wanted to pull the plug on the Tua Tagovailoa experiment not even a full season into the regime, Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins didn’t listen. Instead, they spent the offseason building around their budding quarterback to compete in 2021.
The Dolphins understood that the 2020 season was one with flaws, in large part due to the receiving game. They upgraded with both speed and stability by adding Will Fuller from the Houston Texans and Tagovailoa’s go-to target at Alabama in Jaylen Waddle.
Miami also made sure to bolster the offensive line with the addition of Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg. The former Irish standout is expected to play left tackle, while former second-round pick Robert Hunt will shift inside to guard. If all players hit, the Dolphins will have four offensive linemen under contract until 2024.
It’s clear that Miami, which finished 10-6 a season ago, can taste the postseason entering 2021. While most of the wins will depend on Tagovailoa’s progression in his second year, every team is set to lose at least one game per season. When will the Dolphins fall?
For now, the clear-cut loss appears to come in Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills still run the AFC East over the Dolphins
This isn’t to say that Miami will not be a playoff-caliber roster, but Buffalo barely lost a step in the offseason. The results were mixed on the draft class, but the needs that were addressed were long-term ones rather than short-term.
Josh Allen tore up 2020, cementing his status as a top-10 quarterback entering 2021. Everything that happened in Buffalo was started thanks to the protection from the offensive line and highlight plays from Allen’s precise passing. It’s why some believed the Chiefs would fall at home to the Orchard Park franchise in the AFC title game.
Buffalo made sure to pay their own, re-signing Jon Feliciano, Daryl Williams and Matt Milano all before they could hit the market. They also bolstered the passing game with addition of Emmanuel Sanders in the slot. If Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham can be productive rotational defenders, there’s few holes on this roster defensively.
Week 2 will be the first game for Fuller following his PED suspension. There’s no telling if Waddle will be at full strength following his torn ACL. The Dolphins’ offensive line is young, but young doesn’t always mean productive. Although it’s a home game, Buffalo won at Hard Rock by three points last September.
In a rematch down the line, maybe Miami can have the chemistry to hand the Bills a loss. Early on, it’s best to trust Allen getting the job done and keep the Bills as the AFC East frontrunners.