Miami Dolphins schedule and predictions takeaways:
- Dolphins next game: Miami will open its season on Sept. 12 in a Week 1 matchup against the New England Patriots
- Miami has the eighth-easiest strength of schedule, per The Athletic.
- Dolphins play two primetime games, with the possibility of flex scheduling increasing that number.
The Miami Dolphins schedule is out and the region is buzzing with excitement for the 2021 NFL season. Could this be the year Miami snaps its streak of four consecutive years without a playoff appearance?
Everyone is focused on Tua Tagovailoa. While there are a few Deshaun Watson trade rumors linked to the Dolphins, this organization remains committed to their No. 5 pick from the 2020 NFL Draft. With a better supporting cast around him and a full summer of practices to find his rhythm, the Dolphins are closing in on becoming a perennial AFC contender.
Miami Dolphins schedule predictions, roster outlook
Dolphins roster outlook
All our predictions are based on the Dolphins keeping and starting these key players:
- QB – Tua Tagovailoa
- RB – Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown
- WR – Will Fuller, DeVante Parker, Preston Willians, Jaylen Waddle
- TE – Mike Gesicki, Hunter Long
- Defense – No. 5 in 2021 NFL defense rankings
Let’s dive into our game-by-game predictions for the Dolphins’ 2021 season.
Miami Dolphins 2021 preseason schedule
|Saturday, Aug. 14||@ Chicago Bears||1:00 PM||WFOR CBS4|
|Saturday, Aug. 21||vs. Atlanta Falcons||7:00 PM||WFOR CBS4|
|Sunday, Aug. 29||@ Cincinnati Bengals||4:00 PM||WFOR CBS4|
This season the NFL is lowering the amount of preseason games to three per team, and instead expanding the regular season to 17 games, rather than the traditional 16 games.
Week 1 – @ New England Patriots
|Sunday, Sep. 12||4:25 PM||CBS|
- Spread: Patriots -2 (via DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Patriots -125, Dolphins +105
- Over/Under: 45.5
The Dolphins don’t have much luck when they visit Gillette Stadium every year. Even last season’s trip against a relatively inferior team, saw the Fins headed back to Miami feeling disappointed. The Patriots were one of the biggest winners of the NFL offseason and the additions made should be more than enough for a Week 1 victory.
- Week 1 prediction: Patriots 20, Dolphins 17
Week 2 – vs. Buffalo Bills
|Sunday, Sep. 19||1:00 PM||FOX|
Miami can’t be feeling great about its schedule to open the season. Returning home is always nice, but not when you have to face Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. The Dolphins’ pass rush is an area of concern and that’s a big issue when facing an elite quarterback with one of the best arms in the NFL. This will be a competitive game, but Buffalo has a superior quarterback.
- Week 2 prediction: Bills 34, Dolphins 27
Week 3 – @ Las Vegas Raiders
|Sunday, Sep. 26||4:05 PM||CBS|
Trying to understand the Raiders’ strategy this offseason is a fruitless exercise. Las Vegas’ offensive line is about to take a huge step back and it’s not like the receivers around Derek Carr are good enough to make up for that. Miami shouldn’t have much trouble containing Jon Gruden’s attack, resulting in a convincing victory for the Dolphins.
- Week 3 prediction: Dolphins 28, Raiders 14
Week 4 – vs. Indianapolis Colts
|Sunday, Oct. 3||1:00 PM||CBS|
Carson Wentz really struggles when you take away the things that make him very comfortable. Not only do the Dolphins have the personnel to accomplish it, but coach Brian Flores is also the man to get the job done from the sideline. Pair that with the Colts’ inability to create pressure, allowing Tagovailoa to target Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller deep, this is the result.
- Week 4 schedule prediction: Dolphins 21, Colts 14
Week 5 – @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|Sunday, Oct. 10||1:00 PM||CBS|
There are very few teams that can match up with the Buccaneers, Miami is almost there. If Tagovailoa blossoms in his second year and rookie Gregory Rousseau makes an instant impact, we could see an upset. But it takes time for young players to grow, so don’t expect any miracles in Tampa Bay.
- Week 5 schedule prediction: Buccaners 31, Dolphins 23
Week 6 – vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
|Sunday, Oct. 17||9:30 AM||CBS|
Adjusting to the NFL is going to be a long process for Trevor Lawrence. He’s got all the tools to be an NFL star, but he benefitted from a Clemson offense that got his receivers open on screens and quick passes. Passing won’t be that easy against the Dolphins’ secondary, leading to a few mistakes that decide the game.
- Week 6 schedule prediction: Dolphins 27, Jaguars 17
Week 7 – vs. Atlanta Falcons
|Sunday, Oct. 24||1:00 PM||CBS|
With Julio Jones likely on his way out, this matchup becomes even easier. Xavien Howard can shadow Calvin Ridley, Flores can shadow coverage toward Kyle Pitts and that’s all the Falcons have offensively. On the other side of the ball, Atlanta doesn’t have anyone to rush the passer nor to match Waddle and Fuller’s deep speed.
- Week 7 schedule prediction: Dolphins 28, Falcons 17
Week 8 – @ Buffalo Bills
|Sunday, Oct. 31||1:00 PM||CBS|
Another early-season clash against the Bills, arguably the second-best team in the AFC. We’d feel a bit more optimistic about this game for the Dolphins if it was played in December when there would be frigid temperatures, snow and wind in Buffalo. With all of those things likely off the table, factored in with comparing these two offenses, the Bills are victorious once again.
- Week 8 schedule prediction: Bills 31, Dolphins 27
Week 9 – vs. Houston Texans
|Sunday, Nov. 7||1:00 PM||FOX|
The Dolphins owe Bill O’Brien steak dinners for life. The Laremy Tunsil trade heist changed this franchise, putting them in a position to build one of the deepest and young rosters in the NFL. Both teams have headed in vastly different directions since that deal, with Miami becoming the rising NFL power.
- Week 9 schedule prediction: Dolphins 31, Texans 7
Week 10 – vs. Baltimore Ravens
|Thursday, Nov. 11||8:20 PM||FOX, NFLN|
Here’s another matchup where the Dolphins could run into some trouble. The strength of Baltimore’s defense is its secondary, making this matchup a daunting test for Tagovailoa. Plus, Ravens’ defensive play-caller Don Martindale will be throwing all kinds of blitzes to disrupt the flow of Miami’s offense. This should be a defensive battle, but the Ravens are slightly better on both sides and that decides it.
- Week 10 schedule prediction: Ravens 24, Dolphins 20
Week 11 – @ New York Jets
|Sunday, Nov. 21||1:00 PM||CBS|
Finally, the Dolphins’ schedule starts to lighten up. While the Jets look like a formidable divisional opponent in the future, this team isn’t ready to win in 2021. Zach Wilson will go through his rookie bumps, just like Tagovailoa did. This game could be the start of a winning streak that pushes Miami to the NFL Playoffs.
- Week 11 schedule prediction: Dolphins 24, Jets 17
Week 12 – vs. Carolina Panthers
|Sunday, Nov. 28||1:00 PM||FOX|
Sam Darnold is 1-4 in his career against the Miami Dolphins, with a 59.9% completion rate, 10 interceptions and 14 sacks. Yes, he is in a better situation now than before. But there haven’t been any signs that Darnold can be a good quarterback. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have his number.
- Week 12 schedule prediction: Dolphins 28, Panthers 16
Week 13 – vs. New York Giants
|Sunday, Dec. 5||1:00 PM||FOX|
If Tagovailoa and Daniel Jones swapped teams, the projections for both of these clubs would flip. New York boasts a top-10 defense and its skill players around Jones are superior to what Miami boasts. But a turnover-prone quarterback against a defense that is better than anyone at generating takeaways, the outcome is predictable.
- Week 13 schedule prediction: Dolphins 16, Giants 10
Week 14 – BYE
Week 15 – vs. New York Jets
|Sunday, Dec. 19||TBD||TBD|
After getting swept in the two-game series by the Buffalo Bills, Miami will welcome an opportunity to do the same to New York. With the Dolphins playing at home and this offense likely more explosive and efficient than it was in the prior meeting, the results are an even bigger margin of victory.
- Week 15 schedule prediction: Dolphins 30, Jets 17
Week 16 – @ New Orleans Saints
|Monday, Dec. 27||8:15 PM||ESPN|
It doesn’t matter much who the Saints start at quarterback. Jameis Winston can do far more as a passer and will test Miami’s secondary vertically more than Brees ever did in recent years. But it’s a guarantee that he would turn the ball over at least once. As for Taysom Hill, the Dolphins crowd the box to suffocate the Saints’ rushing attack and RPO.
- Week 16 schedule prediction: Dolphins 24, Saints 20
Week 17 – @ Tennessee Titans
|Sunday, Jan. 2||1:00 PM||CBS|
Can the Dolphins contain Derrick Henry? Opponents averaged 4.5 yards per carry against Miami’s defensive front in 2020 and there are concerns about how this unit will fare this fall. Tennessee’s secondary has also improved, which will make things a little more difficult. This game could go either way, but we’ll give the edge to the home team.
- Week 17 schedule prediction: Titans 17, Dolphins 13
Week 18 – vs. New England Patriots
|Sunday, Jan. 9||1:00 PM||CBS|
With a playoff spot on the line, this can be an opportunity for Tagovailoa to prove himself. It’s not going to be easy against the Patriots’ defense, but the Dolphins have the personnel to pull it off. It might take some late-game heroics, but Miami can clinch its spot in the Wild Card round and sent Bill Belichick home.
- Week 18 schedule prediction: Dolphins 20, Patriots 14