Editor’s Note: Please welcome Zach to the team as our newest contributing author!
The Miami Dolphins finished last year, unlike most expected, winning five of their final nine games down the stretch. Subsequently, they were rewarded with one of the hardest 2020 schedules across the league. Miami’s 2019 opponent win percentage for its 2020 slate sits at .529, third-best in the NFL.
Much of that is bad luck; the Dolphins, along with the rest of the AFC East, faces the NFC West, arguably the best division in the league. But Miami’s finish in this season likely comes down to play within the division. With Tom Brady now in Tampa Bay, Buffalo is the presumable favorites in the AFC East. The Bills were the lone team Miami failed to beat within the division last season.
That being said, Brian Flores’ squad must capitalize on its easier matchups. Miami was a missed field goal away from sweeping the Jets in 2019. Adam Gase’s team could struggle again this season, as in fact, New York comes in a spot above the Dolphins at number two on the list. New England sure to have issues of their own with the most robust schedule across the league, a new quarterback, and a roster stripped of much of its talent post-free agency. So a pair of wins with Miami’s arch-rival would pay huge dividends, too.
When it’s all said and done, it’ll be a lot of long trips for Miami; half the slate consists of the AFC and NFC West divisions. In addition to a matchup with the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, the slate also includes a tilt with the defending champion Chiefs. Both contests will undoubtedly be good measuring sticks for how far along the rebuild truly is. But as Flores’ resilient group proved last year with wins over the Eagles and Patriots, any game is a winnable one.