Reaching the playoffs for the second time in 14 years was not enough to satisfy a Miami Dolphins team that believes it has what it takes to win a championship this season.
With a multi-year rebuild in Miami finally coming to an end, the new-look Dolphins stormed out of the gates in 2022/23, starting 8-3.
But injuries to key players and defensive struggles saw them lose six of their last seven regular season games, and although they put up a fight in the Wild Card round loss to the Buffalo Bills, it was a disappointing end to a season that had promised more.
Refreshed and re-tooled for the new season, Miami will have some lofty expectations once again in 2023/24. But, in one of the most competitive divisions in football, the Fins face a fight just to get back to the playoffs.
Click here to read all NFL Season Outlooks for the 2023/24 season.
|What||2023/24 NFL Season|
|When||September 8th, 2023 - February 11th, 2024|
|How to watch||ESPN, FOX, NBC, CBS and on-demand with NFL Game Pass|
|Dolphins Odds||To Win Division +300, To Win Conference +1100, To Win SBLVIII +2200|
2nd in the AFC East (9-8). Lost in the AFC Wild Card round.
The Dolphins are one of eight sides in the AFC with genuine Super Bowl aspirations, but are perhaps in a worse position than some of their rivals.
Miami have the second hardest schedule in the league, and it’s easy to see why with all four members of the AFC East eyeing a playoff berth.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa still divides opinion but he took a major step forward last season, leading the NFL in passer rating and working well with Miami’s star wideouts, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
Injuries remain a major concern for Tua, who played only 13 games last year, but he proved he can perform to a high level in Mike McDaniels’ offense and is a difference-maker when healthy.
The Fins have brought in Mike White as a back-up to Tua and which quarterback wouldn’t love to work with Hill and Waddle, who both had over 1,000 receiving yards last season on an offense that ranked 11th in points per game.
The offense worked last year, but the defense, particularly the secondary, did not.
The Dolphins were a bottom-ten team in points allowed per game (24th), third-down defense (24th) and takeaways (30th) but with defensive guru Vic Fangio now their defensive coordinator, improvements are expected.
Jalen Ramsey was added to an already stacked defense in terms of talent this off-season and Miami look strong across the board with the Dolphins +100 to surpass their win total of 9.5.
Los Angeles Chargers Season Outlook
Carolina Panthers Season Outlook
The Dolphins start their 2023/24 schedule on the road at the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, September 10th.
The two teams clashed last season with the Bolts pulling out a 23-17 victory in LA, but Miami had won their previous two road games at the Chargers and are +115 to start the season with a win.
Week Two takes the Fins to Foxborough for a Sunday Night Football showdown with the New England Patriots in a fixture that’s been won by the home team in six of the last seven meetings.
Miami play their first home game of the year in Week Three when hosting the Denver Broncos.
In total, the Dolphins will play seven different playoff teams eight times during the regular season, kicking off against the Chargers before heading to Buffalo to face the Bills on October 1st in Week 4. The Fins host the Bills in Week 18.
There’s a big showdown with NFC champions the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football on October 23rd, while the Week 14 game against the Tennessee Titans has been switched to a Monday night.
The Dolphins will be involved in the NFL’s first-ever Black Friday feature game against the New York Jets on November 24th, a little under three weeks after they’ve faced off against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, in Frankfurt, Germany on November 5th.
Mike McDaniel’s first season in charge of Miami had its ups and downs.
The 40-year-old quickly established a dynamic offense and won over the locker room with his positive attitude.
Growing pains are inevitable for a rookie head coach and McDaniel will need to work on his clock management, team discipline and reviews if the Dolphins are to challenge the AFC’s elite.
But the majority of the pieces are there for a coach that only had one year as offensive coordinator at San Francisco before coming to Miami, McDaniel having been the Niners running-back coach prior to that.
McDaniel’s 17-year coaching career had previously seen him serve on the Houston Texans, Washington, Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons staff before really making a name for himself in San Francisco.
CB Jalen Ramsey (Los Angeles Rams)
WR Chosen Anderson (Arizona Cardinals)
G Dan Feeney (New York Jets)
QB Mike White (New York Jets)
DE Malik Reed (Pittsburgh Steelers)
TE Eric Saubert (Denver Broncos)
LB David Long Jr (Tennessee Titans)
TE Mike Gesicki (New England Patriots)
S Eric Rowe (Carolina Panthers)
QB Teddy Bridgewater
LT Eric Fisher
WR Trent Sherfield (Buffalo Bills)
DE Trey Flowers
DE Melvin Ingram
|Offensive MVP||Tyreek Hill|
|Defensive MVP||Christian Wilkins|
|Top rookie||Devon Achane (3rd round)|
|Breakout star||Kader Kohou|
Having splashed the cash to bring in Tyreek Hill from the Kansas City Chiefs in the off-season, the Cheetah was everything Miami had hoped for and more.
Hill had 119 catches, 1,740 yards, and seven touchdowns, despite a revolving door at quarterback, and remains as deadly as ever in the NFL.
2019 first round draft pick Christian Wilkins just seems to keep getting better and was ranked as PFF's seventh-best defensive tackle last season.
Wikins posted career numbers in tackles (98), tackles for loss (16), and forced fumbles (2) and is the center piece on an excellent defensive line.
The Dolphins only had four picks in this year’s draft but they used them wisely, selecting explosive running-back Devon Achane in round three.
The Texas A&M speedster has a chance to stake a claim to be Miami's number one running back and comparisons to Darren Sproles have got plenty excited about his potential.
The Dolphins also had a need at cornerback this off-season with Jalen Ramsey brought in to play alongside Kader Kohou.
Kohou, an undrafted rookie in 2022, went from a rotational piece to becoming the Dolphins' CB2 last season, playing nearly 1,000 snaps, and the Fins hope he'll continue his upward trajectory in 2023.
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