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Dolphins starting lineup from Week 1 versus Week 17

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The Miami Dolphins will face the New England Patriots in their final game of the year this Sunday.

Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries are a major part of the story for every team in the NFL throughout the year. Trying to keep a team healthy and ready to play each week over a 17 week season is nearly impossible. The Miami Dolphins will head into their final game of the year, with the Playoffs out of reach, in a Week 17 contest against their AFC East division rivals, the New England Patriots. This evening, we take a look at the starting lineup from Week 1 of the year, as compared to the projected starting lineup for Week 17.

Offense

Week 1 Week 17
QB Ryan Tannehill Ryan Tannehill
RB Lamar Miller Lamar Miller
WR Greg Jennings Jarvis Landry
WR Rishard Matthews DeVante Parker
WR/TE Jarvis Landry Jordan Cameron
TE Jordan Cameron Dion Sims
LT Branden Albert Branden Albert
LG Dallas Thomas Dallas Thomas
C Mike Pouncey Jamil Douglas
RG Jamil Douglas Billy Turner
RT Ja'Wuan James Jason Fox

The major changes on the offense are obviously on the offensive line, where injuries have simply destroyed an already questionable unit. If Mike Pouncey is able to play, he will slide back into the center position. Signs indicate Ja'Wuan James may be ready to go this week after a toe injury sidelined him for seven weeks, but there has not been an official declaration that he will be in the starting lineup at right tackle yet. The Dolphins started last week's game with two wide receivers and two tight ends, and I will mirror that this week, unless Rishard Matthews or Kenny Stills is healthy enough to play.

Defense

Week 1 Week 17
LE Cameron Wake Derrick Shelby
DT Ndamukong Suh Ndamukong Suh
DT Earl Mitchell Jordan Phillips
RE Olivier Vernon Olivier Vernon
LB Koa Misi Zach Vigil
LB Kelvin Sheppard Kelvin Sheppard
LB Jelani Jenkins Jelani Jenkins
CB Brent Grimes Brent Grimes
CB Brice McCain Brice McCain
S Walt Aikens Michael Thomas
S Reshad Jones Reshad Jones

The loss of Cameron Wake was huge to this defense, especially once Olivier Vernon got healthy - Wake, Vernon, and Ndamukong Suh could have destroyed offensive lines if they all could have played at 100 percent this year. Earl Mitchell has been injured, but Jordan Phillips has surpassed him on the depth chart. The linebackers and cornerbacks have been decimated by injuries all season, with startling linebacker Koa Misi now on injured reserve, and a question mark surrounding Jelani Jenkins as well. Brice McCain missed parts of the season, but Bobby McCain, Jamar Taylor, and Tony Lippett do not appear to be in the mix as the starter if McCain is healthy.

Overall

The good news is, in a lost season, the Dolphins have been getting snaps for their younger players, like Phillips and Douglas. Experience is important as the Dolphins will look to those players next year to step up into larger roles on both sides of the ball.