With the Dolphins reporting to training camp tomorrow, today is the last day of the NFL offseason. What better way to bring in football season here at Dolphins Gab than to unveil my predictions for the 2013 Miami Dolphins?
My outlook for the season will undoubtedly prove drastically flawed, but it’s a fun way to kick things off nonetheless.
The team opens camp with sky-high expectations, but still so much to prove. Pushing the Patriots for the AFC East title doesn’t seem as crazy of a scenario as it used to and anything short of qualifying for a wild-card spot would be a huge disappointment.
The Dolphins have gone all-in to win in 2013. But will their spending spree over the offseason yield a better product on the field or will they suffer the same fate so many other big-spenders have over the years and fall well short of expectations?
Here are my game-by-game predictions for the season:
Week 1 @ CLE: Dolphins 16 Browns 13 (1-0)
The Dolphins overcome some sloppy play to win a close game in Cleveland.
Week 2 @ IND: Colts 31 Dolphins 27 (1-1)
Round two of what will be a heated rivalry between Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck goes the Colts’ way again, but the Dolphins’ offense begins to show some promise.
Week 3 vs. ATL: Falcons 28 Dolphins 20 (1-2)
A Super Bowl caliber team in the Atlanta Falcons proves to be too much for the Dolphins during their first home game.
Week 4 @ NO: Saints 34 Dolphins 17 (1-3)
In a statement game for a team looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2012 campaign, the Saints dominate the Dolphins on national television.
Week 5 vs. BAL: Dolphins 24 Ravens 23 (2-3)
With the season on the brink, the Dolphins sneak by the defending Super Bowl champs for some momentum heading into the bye.
Week 6 BYE
Sitting at 2-3, the Dolphins are disappointed with their first five games, but not all is lost as the schedule begins to soften.
Week 7 vs. BUF: Dolphins 38 Bills 17 (3-3)
With two weeks to prepare, the Dolphins finally put together a complete effort and demolish the rival Bills at home.
Week 8 @ NE: Patriots 27 Dolphins 17 (3-4)
The Dolphins aren’t quite ready to knock off the Patriots on the road. Tom Brady finds some flaws in Miami’s improved secondary.
Week 9 vs. CIN: Dolphins 20 Bengals 13 (4-4)
Facing another must-win game, the Dolphins beat one of the AFC’s top teams in Cincinnati on Thursday Night Football.
Week 10 @ TB: Dolphins 33 Buccaneers 19 (5-4)
In their second consecutive prime-time game, the Dolphins outplay Tampa Bay from start to finish on Monday Night Football.
Week 11 vs. SD: Dolphins 31 Chargers 21 (6-4)
The Dolphins extend their winning streak to three by beating up on the Chargers who have to make the cross-country trip to Miami.
Week 12 vs. CAR: Panthers 27 Dolphins 24 (6-5)
With a division title suddenly within their grasps, the Dolphins are upset at home by a solid Panthers team led by Cam Newton.
Week 13 @ NYJ: Dolphins 17 Jets 13 (7-5)
Miami is expected to bounce back against the struggling Jets. They do despite making plenty of mistakes.
Week 14 @ PIT: Steelers 30 Dolphins 17 (7-6)
The Dolphins are still unable to win a big game on the road, falling to the Steelers in Mike Wallace’s reunion with his old team.
Week 15 vs. NE: Dolphins 21 Patriots 20 (8-6)
With the Patriots needing a win over the Dolphins to clinch the AFC East, Miami puts themselves right back in the discussion for the division crown and a playoff spot with the biggest win of their season.
Week 16 @ BUF: Bills 14 Dolphins 13 (8-7)
The Bills upset the Dolphins on a frigid day in Buffalo, ending Miami’s chances of winning the AFC East.
Week 17 vs. NYJ: Dolphins 41 Jets 10 (9-7)
With a wild-card spot still up for grabs, the Dolphins blow out the Jets with a dominating effort on both sides of the ball.
AFC East Standings Predictions
1. New England Patriots 10-6 *
2. Miami Dolphins 9-7 #
3. Buffalo Bills 7-9
4. New York Jets 4-12
*denotes division champion
#denotes wild-card qualifier
AFC Playoff Predictions
1. Denver Broncos 12-4
2. Cincinnati Bengals 11-5
3. Indianapolis Colts 11-5
4. New England Patriots 10-6
5. Houston Texans 11-5
6. Miami Dolphins 9-7
Wild-card round: Dolphins 31 Colts 28
Ryan Tannehill finally gets the best of Andrew Luck as the Dolphins enter the playoffs with momentum and pull off an upset over the Colts. Rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis propels Miami to the second round with a game-winning field goal as time expires.
Divisional round: Broncos 24 Dolphins 10
The Dolphins are overmatched in Denver against Peyton Manning’s Broncos. Tannehill throws a couple picks and the Broncos pull away late.
Super Bowl prediction: Packers 34 Broncos 27
Aaron Rodgers vs. Peyton Manning. A high-scoring contest, but the younger future Hall of Fame quarterback denies Peyton his second ring.
Feel free to share your predictions for the 2013 season in the comments section!