Sandwiched between two games against the New England Patriots is a Miami Dolphins Week 13 home game against the Denver Broncos. That three-game stretch means Miami has to visit the Super Bowl LI champions, then host the Super Bowl 50 champions, then host the Super Bowl LI champions. Earlier in the season, the Dolphins also faced the last two NFC champions. Brutal.
The Broncos fell off last year, as would be expected when a quarterback like Peyton Manning retires, though they still finished the season 9-7 thanks to their defense. This year, the Broncos will have a rookie head coach, former Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. They also bring back Mike McCoy as their offensive coordinator, and that move alone seems to give Broncos fans excitement for the season.
The questions for the Broncos will likely stay focused on their quarterback situation, where they are heading into the year with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch as their top two in the position group.
To get a closer look at the Broncos this season, we turned to Mile High Report.
Notable free agent additions
Ronald Leary, Jamaal Charles, Menelik Watson, Domata Peko
Notable free agent departures
DeMarcus Ware, Russell Okung, Sylvester Williams, Kayvon Webster
1) Traded RB Kapri Bibbs and a 2017 fifth-round pick (No. 177) to San Francisco in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round pick
2) Traded a 2017 fourth-round pick (No. 126) and a 2017 seventh-round pick (No. 252) to Cleveland for two 2017 fifth-round picks (No. 145, No. 175)
3) Traded a 2017 fifth-round pick (No. 175) and a seventh-round pick (No. 238) to Green Bay for a 2017 fifth-round pick (No. 172)
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies
Garett Bolles, DeMarcus Walker, Carlos Henderson, & possibly Jake Butt & Isaiah McKenzie
Biggest offseason addition
Mike McCoy. Ronald Leary is probably tops among players added, but McCoy, his offense, and his ability to help the QBs develop are arguably the single biggest change that carries the potential to heavily impact the quality of the Broncos' season.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp
The quarterback battle, Siemian vs Lynch 2.0, will dominate the discussion with ease. The fanbase is already rather sharply divided, and it has the makings of a competitive camp battle at football's most important position. Somewhat greater experience and sample size will compete against greater physical talent & the pressure to start a former 1st round pick.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp
Can Shane Ray adequately fulfill DeMarcus Ware's role across from Von Miller? There's evidence from 2016 that he can, and that he has the potential to be a Pro Bowl edge rusher. But he's got to actually do it. And if he can't, then a lopsided pass rush could tip a whole line of dominoes starting with more double and triple teams vs Miller, more time for QBs to throw, and greater demands put on the secondary. If the Broncos' historic pass defense is going to regress this season, failures across the line from Miller might be the most likely culprit.
Notable injuries heading into training camp
Matt Paradis: The Broncos' best offensive lineman is coming back from two offseason hip surgeries. Can he get healthy enough and strong enough to play well by the time the season begins? Jake Butt: The 5th round rookie TE has a ton of potential, but how quickly will he return from a torn ACL?
Miami Dolphins 2017 season schedule:
vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Setpember 10, 1pm
at Los Angeles Chargers
September 17, 4:05pm
at New York Jets
September 24, 1pm
vs. New Orleans Saints (London)
October 1, 9:30am
vs. Tennessee Titans
October 8, 1pm
at Atlanta Falcons
October 15, 1pm
vs. New York Jets
October 22, 1pm
vs. Oakland Raiders
November 5, 8:30pm (SNF)
at Carolina Panthers
November 13, 8:30pm (MNF)
at New England Patriots
November 26, 1pm
vs. Denver Broncos
December 3, 1pm
vs. New England Patriots
December 11, 8:30pm (MNF)
at Buffalo Bills
December 17, 1pm
at Kansas City Chiefs
December 24, 1pm
vs. Buffalo Bills
December 31, 1pm