Offseason training activities have begun for several NFL teams, and although it seems like a long way off, the process leading up to Opening Weekend is underway. Despite it not even being summer yet, everyone is anxious for the new season to begin, and now that the 2013 NFL Schedule has been released, patiently waiting for fall to come just got that much harder. Here is a look at some of the Miami Dolphins key games.
The Dolphins will start their season at on the road against the Cleveland Browns on September 8, another team that has been working its way towards NFL relevance. It is a match-up of two second year quarterbacks, with Brandon Weeden taking the field for the Browns, and Ryan Tannehill, who is going into his sophomore season for the Dolphins. The two are often the forgotten quarterbacks from last season’s record setting rookie QBs that started for their teams in Week 1. This season, the two will be on center stage to kick their 2013 season off.
Being in the AFC East, they will face the New England Patriots twice, once in Week 8 (October 27th) and again in Week 15 (Dec 15th). With the way the Dolphins have been making moves this offseason, these two games take on extra meaning. If the Dolphins want to become one of the NFL’s top teams, they will need to be able to contend with the Patriots. The surest way into the playoffs is to win their division, and right now, New England stands in their way.
Another game of note is the Dolphins’ match up in Week 3 (September 22nd) against the Atlanta Falcons. Last season the Falcons led the NFC practically from start to finish and ended their season just one game short of the Super Bowl. This is exactly the type of team the new-look Dolphins need to compete against. Playing against the league’s best will be good for them. Just like playing chess, when you match-up with good competition, you become a better player. With the way things are shaping up in the offseason, this game will have Sun Life Stadium feeling like a playoff atmosphere.
They follow it up in Week 4 (September 30th) against the New Orleans Saints in another game that will be very telling for the Dolphins. Whenever you are up against a Drew Brees led team, your defense is sure to be tested. The Dolphins have already brought in Brent Grimes to shore up the secondary, and Miami is certain to add starting talent from the 2013 NFL Draft. How well this unit works together will be on full display against this team. Playing at the Mercedes Benz Superdome is never an easy task, but is especially hard on a defensive secondary. If the Dolphins’ defensive backs do well here, they will do well anywhere.
As always there are two games with the Buffalo Bills (Weeks 7, 16) and the New York Jets (Weeks 13, 17). Both of these teams are still working their way through rough times, the Jets having dominated the news with talks of trading their best player, Darrelle Revis, and the Bills have switched signal callers. Ryan Fitzpatrick is out and Kevin Kolb is in, so what type of team they will be is yet to be seen.
The final game of note that will be discussed here is the Week 2 rematch between Tannehill and Andrew Luck. Last season, the two rookies met in Indianapolis in Week 9. The Dolphins had been on a three game winning streak and looked like they were coming together as a competitive team; the Indianapolis Colts thought they were pretty good too. The Dolphins led throughout the game, just to see an Adam Vinatieri field goal steal the game away in the end.
It was a fantastic matchup, with Tannehill going for 290 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. Luck finished the day with a whopping 433 yards and two touchdowns. Seeing these two teams go at it again is sure to be a treat, and although the game is at Lucas Oil Stadium again, the Dolphins’ defense will be pumped up to get some revenge against the Colts’ young QB.
There are 16 games throughout the season and we won’t get into them all here, but a 16 game predictions article is on its way, so be sure to come back and check it out. Don’t forget to use the comment box below, or you can use the hash tag #RML, for group discussions on twitter