Training Camp is now less than a month away, and usually this is the time of year where I start to really look over the schedule and make my predictions about the Dolphins and how well they'll do.
Right now I haven't gotten far enough into all of the other 31 NFL teams to really put my finger on the pulse of the league, but when it comes to the Miami Dolphins, I have a fairly strong grip on the makeup of this team on the field.
While I won't predict each game one by one—I'll save that usually controversial piece for later in the month of July—I do feel confident enough to tell you how the Dolphins will finish in 2013.
If you're familiar with my work, this will come as a shock to you: Miami will win the AFC East with a record of 11-5.
Pick your jaws up from the floor, I have my reasons for this. But first, let me explain something: As crazy as you might think I am now, you're going to think I'm crazier during the Dolphins' bye week when they're 2-3.
At that point, you might be ready to throw in the towel on the season and openly ask when the Heat will play their first exhibition game. You'll wonder why the Dolphins' big splashes in an active offseason will have been for naught while going back to cursing the name of Jeff Ireland.
You're going to likely go into the bye week thinking, "Same old Dolphins, same old [expletive deleted]." You will likely start focusing more on your fantasy team and being mad at yourself for investing into another potential 7-9 season of mediocrity.
Meanwhile, the Jets, Pats and Bills fans converge will converge on Dolphins sites to talk about how much of a bust the 2013 Miami Dolphins turned out to be. The focus at that point will shift to the draft, while fantasies of pairing Dion Jordan with Jadeveon Clowney run through your head.
Then, that's where the fun starts. But before we can get there with the explanation as to why the Dolphins will click in their final 11 games, let's look at how Miami will start off the season and why it won't look too good at first.
For one thing, with so many new pieces on both sides of the ball, it should take some time to really come together. Mike Wallace will likely look like a disappointment at the start as he attempts to form a chemistry with Ryan Tannehill during actual game action (far different than on the practice field).
The same will likely be said for Dustin Keller and Brandon Gibson. Jonathan Martin will likely struggle at first as the left tackle, especially in the first five games of the year.
The result will be five very herky-jerky games on offense for the Dolphins with likely a painful-to-watch win over the Cleveland Browns. What follows will be a down-to-the-wire loss in Indianapolis against the Colts, then a loss to Atlanta that will look better on the scoreboard than it does on the field.
After that, expect a barn-burner of a loss to the Saints in New Orleans, then a close win against the Ravens at home, leading to a bye-week record of 2-3 led by some herky-jerky and at times uninspiring play.
Despite that, Miami will regroup as the team develops chemistry on both sides of the ball along with a schedule that gets a bit lighter—leading to the Dolphins finishing the season on a 9-2 clip.
Will those final 11 games be a walk in the park? Hardly. But with an offense hitting its stride, and a defense ready to wreak havoc after the secondary linebacking units jell and rookie Dion Jordan finds his way, this team is poised for excellence during the 2013 season.
But be patient during the process, for there will be plenty of bumps along the way at the start.
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On this week's episode, Thomas and Ryan discuss the Miami Heat's victory parade as well as what a Miami Dolphins victory parade might look like. Then they talk with Adam Silverstein of OnlyGators.com and Rivals.com about the Dolphins and the impact the new Gators will have on the team.
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