The Miami Dolphins’ 2019 win total prediction is relatively low, considering this team is currently in transition. Frankly, it’s easy to forget that Miami made a playoff appearance just three years ago. The Dolphins went 10-6 back in 2016, which was good enough to earn an AFC Wild Card berth. Miami would go on to lose to the Steelers by the score of 30-12 in the Wild Card round, and they haven’t been seen in the postseason since.
The Miami Dolphins went 7-9 last season, but that wasn’t good enough for Adam Gase to keep his head coaching job. The team fired Gase after his third season in charge, and he has since moved on to take the same job with the division rival New York Jets. Miami replaced Gase with Brian Flores, who previously served as the linebackers coach under Bill Belichick in New England. Flores was an occasional defensive play-caller for Belichick, and the Dolphins’ brass is hopeful that switching from an offensive-minded coach to a defensive-minded coach will get the franchise moving in the right direction.
It’s easy to forget that the Dolphins actually started 3-0 a season ago. Miami beat the Titans, Jets, and Raiders in the first three weeks of the campaign, but it was almost all downhill from there. The team went just 4-9 the rest of the way, and they ended the season on a three-game losing streak. Other than a memorable last-second win over the Patriots at home in Week 14, the 2018 season was largely forgettable in South Florida.
The Miami Dolphins don’t have massive expectations for 2019, but at the very least, they can start to take positive steps. Will Miami exceed expectations next season? Or will it be another lost year for the ‘Fins?
Other than swapping Flores in for Gase at head coach, the most notable difference between last year’s team and this year’s team will be at the quarterback position. The Ryan Tannehill era has finally come to an end, as the Miami Dolphins decided to let the former first-round pick walk in free agency. Miami made the move to acquire another former first-rounder in Josh Rosen from the Cardinals after Arizona drafted Kyler Murray with the top overall pick in the draft this past spring.
Rosen will compete for the Miami starting job in camp, but the Miami Dolphins also signed longtime journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick as an insurance policy. Rosen was up-and-down as a rookie last year with the Cardinals, but it’s a bit unfair to draw too many conclusions about him considering he was playing for a three-win team with what turned out to be a one-and-done head coach.
The change of scenery should be good for Rosen, but it remains to be seen which player will be QB1 when Miami breaks camp. The Dolphins obviously made the trade with the hopes that Rosen will eventually be the team’s quarterback of the future, but the 36-year-old Fitzpatrick can man the ship if need be. There was talk of the Miami Dolphins potentially “tanking” the 2019 season with the hopes of landing Alabama standout Tua Tagovailoa in next year’s draft, but the Rosen trade throws a wrench into that idea for now.
Aside from shuffling quarterbacks, there wasn’t a ton of roster maneuvering for Miami. The team signed corner Eric Rowe and tight end Dwayne Allen away from the Patriots, but neither is what you’d call an overly impactful talent. The Miami Dolphins also lost longtime pass-rushers Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn as well as offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James. Last year’s leading rusher, Frank Gore, signed with the Bills as a free agent. In the draft, the team took former Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and Wisconsin offensive tackle Michael Deiter with each of their first two selections.
When asked about his roster, Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said back in March,
“Everyone keeps saying we’re tanking and we’re going to go and be crap. So, I don’t know what we’ll be. If these guys go out and we have some good young players and they play well and we win eight games, we go, ‘All right, we’ve won eight games and we’ve got right now 11 or 12 picks for next year with the draft still approaching.’ We made the change. We talked about building the foundation and building it up the right way. So that’s all it is. There’s no tanking.”
While Grier was defensive of his roster, those comments don’t exactly instill a ton of confidence if you’re hoping for better results from the Dolphins next season. Clearly, winning the AFC East is incredibly unlikely with the Patriots showing absolutely no signs of taking their foot off the gas any time soon. The Jets and Bills may both be improved next season as well.
|Points per Game||Passing Yards per Game||Rushing Yards per Game|
|19.9 (26th)||181.2 (30th)||108.6 (18th)|
|Points Allowed per Game||Passing Yards Allowed per Game||Rushing Yards Allowed per Game|
|27.1 (27th)||245.8 (21st)||145.3 (31st)|
|1||Sun, Sep. 8||vs. Baltimore Ravens||1:00pm||CBS|
|2||Sun, Sep. 15||vs. New England Patriots||1:00pm||CBS|
|3||Sun, Sep. 22||at Dallas Cowboys||1:00pm||FOX|
|4||Sun, Sep. 29||vs. Los Angeles Chargers||1:00pm||CBS|
|6||Sun, Oct. 13||vs. Washington Redskins||1:00pm||FOX|
|7||Sun, Oct. 20||at Buffalo Bills||1:00pm||CBS|
|8||Mon, Oct. 28||at Pittsburgh Steelers||8:15pm||ESPN|
|9||Sun, Nov. 3||vs. New York Jets||1:00pm||CBS|
|10||Sun, Nov. 10||at Indianapolis Colts||4:05pm||CBS|
|11||Sun, Nov. 17||vs. Buffalo Bills||1:00pm||CBS|
|12||Sun, Nov. 24||at Cleveland Browns||1:00pm||CBS|
|13||Sun, Dec. 1||vs. Philadelphia Eagles||1:00pm||CBS|
|14||Sun, Dec. 8||at New York Jets||1:00pm||CBS|
|15||Sun, Dec. 15||at New York Giants||1:00pm||CBS|
|16||Sun, Dec. 22||vs. Cincinnati Bengals||1:00pm||CBS|
|17||Sun, Dec. 29||at New England Patriots||1:00pm||CBS|
As is the case with the Jets, the Dolphins’ schedule is extremely heavy on games in the Eastern Time Zone. In fact, Week 3’s tilt with the Cowboys in Arlington is the only game that won’t take place somewhere near the east coast. So, from a travel standpoint, the Dolphins have it easy compared to most of the league, particularly the teams on the opposite coast.
While the Miami Dolphins started 3-0 last season, a repeat performance is unlikely. Each of Miami’s first four games will come against teams that made the playoffs a season ago (Baltimore, New England, Dallas, Los Angeles Chargers), so there is a decent chance that the ‘Fins will enter their Week 5 bye still in search of their first victory. Three of the games will come in Miami, but the Dolphins will surely be heavy betting underdogs in all four contests.
The Dolphins won’t face another 2018 playoff entrant until their date with the Colts in Week 10. But the rest of the schedule still features games against quality opponents like the Steelers, Eagles, and Browns with a game in New England looming in Week 17. While three of their first four games will come at home, three of their last four games will take place on the road. Another scheduling quirk will see the Miami Dolphins playing two consecutive weeks at MetLife Stadium. They’ll face the Jets in Week 14 before facing the Giants in the same building a week later.
While the team will never publicly admit that they are losing games on purpose, these Dolphins finding a way to make a playoff run this season would be one of the more remarkable storylines imaginable. The Miami Dolphins have a serious dearth of talent compared to even average teams around the league, and the uncertainty starts at quarterback. Rosen will surely get a shot to prove his worth at some point, but leaning on a second-year QB (on his second team) to lead an undermanned team to win at this level is a pretty daunting task.
Even if Fitzpatrick starts the season as the QB1, it’s only a matter of time before Rosen gets the call. I am more bullish than most on the UCLA product’s future in this league, but the weaponry at his disposal is lacking, to say the least. The Miami Dolphins’ leading receiver from last season, Danny Amendola, is now in Detroit. Kenny Stills is a viable deep threat, but Miami is still waiting on DeVante Parker to prove that he was worth the first-round pick they spent on him four years ago. So far, Parker looks like a miss.
This offense looks like it will be focused heavily on running back Kenyan Drake, who has shown that he is a legitimate home run threat every time he touches the ball. Drake lost touches last season when Gore took the lion’s share of the carries, but the former Alabama rusher should now see a heavy workload. He has proven to be a useful commodity catching passes out of the backfield, but he is still unproven as a dependable every-down back.
The defense isn’t looking much better. The Miami Dolphins ranked near the bottom of the league in most major statistical categories on that side of the football last season. Their 31 sacks as a team ranked just 29th. Adding Wilkins should bring some beef to the defensive line, but it’s hard to see how the team’s pass-rush has improved otherwise. Robert Quinn and Cameron Wake combined for 12.5 sacks a season ago. Both are now gone. Pressuring opposing quarterbacks won’t be easy for this team.
To the surprise of nobody, oddsmakers are not optimistic about the Dolphins’ chances of success in 2019:
Total Regular Season Wins
There is reason to believe this team will take a big step back. A new voice in the locker room may help from a motivational standpoint, but it’s difficult to get past the lack of talent here. Miami’s scheduled opponents went exactly .500 last season, which gives them the 18th-toughest schedule in football. While it’s not the most difficult schedule to navigate, it’s also worth wondering whether the Miami Dolphins will be favored in more than three to four games all year long.
The Dolphins’ 4.5-win prop is the lowest of any of the league’s 32 teams. If they start the year 0-4, which is very possible, can they go 5-7 the rest of the way in order to hit the over on 4.5 wins? Two games apiece against the Bills and Jets with another at home against the lowly Bengals could make things interesting, but I’m just not seeing it with this team.
The team’s GM alluded to the bevy of draft picks they’ll have in the future for a reason. This team needs to find a way to stockpile talent. As it stands right now, it is not unfair to say that Miami owns the worst roster in football. While the 4.5-win total is a low one, I’m having a hard time seeing how they even get there.
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