In a mere two hours, the Miami Dolphins will kick off their first game of what should be a fascinating 2015 season. Let’s make a few last minute predictions for how this season will shape up.
- Ryan Tannehill will have a breakout year. This is Tannehill’s team. He’s had a year of seasoning in Lazor’s system which is perfect for Tannehill’s play style, and the team has added a wealth of weapons around him. Tannehill will continue his excellent development, and have a standout year. Look for him to silence the doubters with a stat line somewhat like 60% completion rate, 4,200 yards passing, 30 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and around 300 yards on the ground.
- The Dolphins get out to a fast start. Miami’s first six games feature some tricky teams, but there are no juggernauts to start off with. Miami should race out to a great beginning with wins over Washington, New York, Jets, Titans, and perhaps Houston and the Bills. They’ll go 5-1 or 4-2 in their first six.
- The Defense will be good… But not great. Miami has a very talented defense, but it lacks depth across the board and needs improvement at linebacker and cornerback. Their stellar front four should compensate nicely for the mediocre ‘backers, and but there still are major questions about the quality of whoever starts across from Grimes and in Delmas’s safety spot. This’ll be a good top ten defense that hangs with every opponent it plays, but it won’t be the dominant top 5 gamechanger defense that many expect it to be. The depth simply isn’t there.
- Lamar Miller will break out. Miller had a badly underrated season last year as he rushed for over a thousand yards and eight touchdowns. He’s a great fit in Lazor’s speed oriented offense, and he’s bulked up to handle an even bigger load this season. He’ll have a great year, expect 1,200 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns.
- Playoff hopes will come down to the wire. The ‘Phins have a solid shot to make it to the promised land this season, but odds are they’ll either barely make it in or barely be left out. This is an 8 to 10 win roster, and a record like that in the AFC will lead to playoffs being decided on tiebreakers. The bottom line meaning, whether they make the playoffs or not, it is going to be close.
- Lack of depth will hurt when injuries and fatigue strike late in the year. This team is not 2 and 3 deep across the board, and that lack of elite depth will harm them as the year wears down. Whether it sinks their big aspirations or not remains to be seen.
The Dolphins go 10-6, and make the playoffs. It was very difficult deciding whether Miami will make it to the postseason this year, but their wealth of home games towards the end of the schedule should help mask some of this team’s issues with a good home field advantage in the renovated Sun Life Stadium. Miami will barely scrape into the playoffs, but once they are there… They have the talent to make anything happen.