One of the first things we all do when the NFL Draft comes out is predict how many games our favorite team will win. I did it immediately after getting the Miami Dolphins' 2015 schedule, and I know most of you did the exact same thing. It is something fun to do, even in April when everything will change before the season actually kicks off, and it gives us something to talk about until the Draft next week.
ESPN's team beat writers did the prediction posts as well. James Walker predicts Miami to go 9-7 this season, but does not think the team can make the playoffs of 10 wins with Joe Philbin as the head coach. That is not what I wanted to do though. I want to see what the opposing writers think will happen when their team faces the Dolphins.
I went through all 16 games for the Dolphins, pulling the results predicted by the opposing beat writer for ESPN and build Miami's win loss record from that. Below is the results for each week, then the overall results.
Week 1 - @ Washington Redskins - Win (MIA 21 - WAS 17) - Miami has an impressive defensive line with the addition of Ndamukong Suh. The Dolphins should be improved over last year and have a quarterback who, while not elite, has steadily improved in Ryan Tannehill. - John Keim
Week 2 - @ Jacksonville Jaguars - Win (MIA 17 - JAX 7) - Last year’s matchup was a strange one because the defense held the Dolphins to just 13 points but the offense gave up 14 on a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns. And that came during the early part of the season, long before the Dolphins went into what seems to be their annual late-season fade. The Ndamukong Suh factor can’t be stressed enough against a Jaguars offensive line that needs to improve significantly. - Mike DiRocco
Week 3 - vs Buffalo Bills - Win (BUF 17 - MIA 27) - The Bills don't catch any favors with this early-season trip to South Florida, where the heat and humidity give road teams trouble in September. Kyle Orton won't be the quarterback again but the results could be similar to last season's flop on Thursday night, especially with a Bills offensive line dealing with a Dolphins defense that has added Ndamukong Suh. - Mike Rodak
Week 4 - vs New York Jets (Wembley Stadium, London) - Loss (NYJ 40 - MIA 37 (OT)) - The two AFC East rivals play at London's Wembley Stadium, the first overseas regular-season game in Jets history. Maybe the Jets and Dolphins, who played the famous Midnight Miracle game in 2000, can stage a Midday Miracle on the other side of the pond. - Rich Cimini
Week 5 - BYE
Week 6 - @ Tennessee Titans - Loss (MIA 21 - TEN 23) - Tennessee will win at least one of these four during this big homestand. LeBeau and the defense highlight the second win as they did the first, this time providing a rough day for Ryan Tannehill. - Paul Kuharsky
Week 7 - vs Houston Texans - Loss (HOU 17 - MIA 13) - Miami added the most high profile free agent of the offseason in former Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. The only problem is, big spending in free agency often doesn't translate to wins. Their dearth of receivers will hurt here, too. - Tania Ganguli
Week 8 - @ New England Patriots (TNF) - Loss (MIA 21 - NE 31) - The Dolphins will be coming off a home contest versus Houston entering this one, and Ndamukong Suh gets tired of chasing past and present Patriots quarterbacks when all is said and done. - Mike Reiss
Week 9 - @ Buffalo Bills - Loss (MIA 10 - BUF 28) - Will the Dolphins show up to play at Ralph Wilson Stadium this season? They effectively haven't the past two seasons, with the Bills blowing them out each time. I don't see that changing. - Mike Rodak
Week 10 - @ Philadelphia Eagles - Loss (MIA 27 - PHI 31) - Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was previously the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach. He might think he came to the wrong stadium when he sees Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow warming up. - Phil Sheridan
Week 11 - vs Dallas Cowboys - Win (DAL 22 - MIA 24) - The last time the Cowboys saw Ndamukong Suh was in the wild-card round in January against the Detroit Lions. He cashed in as a free agent with the Dolphins and will make that defense a lot tougher. So much so that Ryan Tannehill won’t have to carry the show. - Todd Archer
Week 12 - @ New York Jets - Win (MIA 21 - NYJ 17) - The Jets can beat them on foreign soil, and we know they can beat them in South Florida, but they can't beat them at home. This will be the Jets' fourth straight home loss to the Dolphins, which will make former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum -- Miami's new VP -- a happy man. - Rich Cimini
Week 13 - vs Baltimore Ravens - Win (BAL 17 - MIA 22) - The Ravens have won as much as the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. The problem this time is the Ravens are going on the road after a Monday night game against a division team. That's the scheduling equivalent of a Ndamukong Suh stomp to the head. - Jamison Hensley
Week 14 - vs New York Giants (MNF) - Win (NYG 17 - MIA 27) - Monday Night Football in Miami in December counts as a major break for a Northeast team looking to get a break from the cold. But on the field, I don't think this year's Miami Dolphins can be assumed to be a pushover. Ndamukong Suh should be dominating in the middle of that defensive line, and Ryan Tannehill's making steady progress as a quarterback. The Giants get tripped up in the Sunshine State and the Coughlin job speculation kicks into high gear. - Dan Garziano
Week 15 - @ San Diego Chargers - Loss (MIA 20 - SD 34) - Chargers are pleased this game isn’t in Miami after the beatdown the Dolphins put on them last season. Now it’s San Diego’s turn. - Eric D. Williams
Week 16 - vs Indianapolis Colts - Win (IND 20 - MIA 24) - The Dolphins are fighting for a playoff spot heading into the final two weeks of the seasons. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh brings pressure up the middle the entire game. - Mike Wells
Week 17 - vs New England Patriots - Loss (NE 38 - MIA 21) - The Dolphins finish their season the way the Bills open theirs -- with home games against the Colts and the Patriots. New England has to be on the road for the final two games with the Winter Classic being held at their home stadium. Random fact: In Bill Belichick’s tenure, the Patriots have hosted Miami in the season finale five times but have never finished a season in Miami. Don't forget to pack the sunscreen. The Patriots, as they often do, finish on a roll. - Mike Reiss
Perhaps the only game prediction that surprised me is the Colts game at the end of the year, where I thought Wells would predict a Colts win in big fashion. The running themes throughout a lot of the writeups were Nadmukong Suh bolstering the defense and Ryan Tannehill developing as a quarterback. I think there were a couple of homer picks, like the Jets winning in London because it could be a good game and I think Miami can beat New England at least in Miami, but that could be the Dolphins homer in me.
The way this unfolds, the Dolphins have a 6 game losing streak in the middle of the season, which could be trouble for Philbin and the staff. That is going to be an extremely tough stretch for the Dolphins, with only one of those games being played in Miami (the other "home" game during that time is the London game against the Jets). While I don't think the Dolphins lose to the Jets, Titans, and Texans in Weeks 4-7 (Week 5 being the bye), it could happen that Miami goes on a major losing streak.
Over all, the ESPN oppsing writers predict another 8-8 year, one behind Walker's predcition. I think Miami is a better team than people realize, and they should get off to a hot start again this year. It will really come down to how well they play in the middle of the season when they are not in Sun Life Stadium, and how they can do against a closing stretch of potential playoff teams in the Ravens, Giants, Chargers, Colts, and Patriots to end the year.