Even if the roster was the same, the fact the team is going to year 2 under Mike McDaniel, the Dolphins are expected to be better. Especially on offense, as players will be much more familiar with the plays and the concepts. Plus, I expect the repertoire of play calling would be more diverse and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa being more confident. Since they went 9-8 last year, the extra year in the system would account for at least one more win. However, the Dolphins’ roster improved significantly, especially on defense. They also added one of the most highly regarded defense coordinator in Vic Fangio. With a much improve defense and more potent offense, I expect the Dolphins to win the AFC East at 13-4 and make a deep run in the playoffs. This could be the year the Dolphins hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Adding Jalen Ramsey, a perennial All-Pro, regarded as one of the best defenders in the league, to pair with Xavien Howard should improve the secondary significantly. Jalen Ramsey has been a difference maker where ever he has played and consistently ranked as one of the best cornerbacks in the league. They also added David Long to improve their linebacking core. With Kader Kohou, Xavien Howard and safeties Jevon Holland and Brandon Jones, the Dolphins figure to have one of the best secondaries in the league. Furthermore, when you consider their front seven which is young with unlimited potential, the Dolphins defense has the potential to be one of the best in the league. For pass rushers, Bradley Chubb who was drafted fifth overall and was considered defensive rookie of the year candidate in 2018, recording 12 sacks. He is a premiere pass rusher, who is poised for a break out season. Jalean Philips was the first defensive drafted in his class and uber talented and expected to excel this year. In addition you also have Emmanuel Ogbah who was regarded as the Dolphins premiere pass rusher and is now the third on the team which underscore the depth at the position. Inside, Christian Wilkins is poised for a pro bowl season and matched up Zach Zelier. The Dolphins defensive front will be among the leagues best. At middle linebacker, the Dolphins have Jerome Baker is a sideline to sideline linebacker with amazing speed (4.53s 40) and newly signed David Long. Both figure to get to the ball quickly and have the range to play in Vic Fangio’s zone schemes. The Dolphins defense figures to be one of the best in the league.
On offense, the Dolphins return all of their starter expect for Mike Gesicki. The Dolphins will field the fast offense in the league. Jaylen Waddle (~4.2s 40) and Tyreek Hill (4.29s 40) are not only two of the fastest receiver but are also pro-bowl level talent. In the back field, Raheem Mostert (4.38 40) and David Achane (4.32s 40) are two of the leagues fastest running bag. With McDaniels misdirection and zone scheme, expect this insane speed to be featured in space. Plus, the Dolphins have arguable one of the best playmaking full back in the league. The Dolphins offensive line needs work and has to stay healthy. It features a pro-bowlers at LT (Terron Armstead) at G (Robert Hunt) and at Center (Connor William). Expect the Dolphins to score early and often with the offense having more familiarity with McDaniels offense. Furthermore, given that McDaniels can leave the defense to Vic Fangio and solely concentrate on the offense will also boost production.
Given that the Dolphins have improved on offense and defense the Dolphins and the fact that the AFC east is going to be weaker than last year will also mean more wins. The only team that significantly improved was the New York Jets whom the Dolphins split with. The Bills lost their defensive coordinator Leslie Frasier and talented linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. The Patriots lost safety Deven McCourty, receivers Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers as well as tight end Jonnu Smith. I don’t see their offense improving with the signing of TE Mike Gesicki and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Dolphins have the hardest schedule but that is because all of the teams in the division are expected to have winning records. However, the Dolphins are better than all of the teams. They beat the Bills at home last year and came within one play of beating them in the play offs with a third string QB.