Miami Dolphins season prediction: Best and worst case scenario for 2022

TAMPA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 13: Head coach Mike McDaniel of the Miami Dolphins looks on during a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on August 13, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 13: Head coach Mike McDaniel of the Miami Dolphins looks on during a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on August 13, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Welcome to FanSided’s 2022 NFL preview! It’s time to look into our crystal football and take a glimpse at the Miami Dolphins season prediction.

Hey, did anything happen to the Miami Dolphins this offseason? Didn’t think so.

Well, unless you consider the fact that they fired Brian Flores and opened the NFL up to an unprecedented lawsuit. Or how the investigation from that led to the Dolphins forfeiting two draft picks and owner Stephen Ross being fined $1.5 million and dealt a suspension from the team.

The reason for that? The Dolphins wanted to replace Flores with Sean Payton and complete a years-long pursuit of Tom Brady to be the team’s quarterback.

All of that drama overshadowed the fact that Miami hired perhaps the next great offensive head coach in Mike McDaniel, traded for one of the league’s most electric wide receivers in Tyreek Hill, and have put themselves in a position to completely overhaul the team’s fortunes.

Needless to say, if the Dolphins offseason was this insane we can only imagine how the season will go.

Miami Dolphins 2021 season in review

  • 9-7 record
  • 3rd in AFC East
  • Didn’t Qualify for Playoffs

The 2021 Miami Dolphins season fell short of early expectations. The Dolphins opened the season with a victory but then lost seven games in a row before winning seven in a row. A loss to the Titans late in the year ended their chances of a playoff birth.

Miami’s biggest problems in 2021 were the offensive coaching staff which included two offensive coordinators and an offensive line coach who had not held that position before. The Dolphins offense was never in sync from the start and the co-offensive coordinators reportedly shared play calling which didn’t translate to success on the field.

The Dolphins also faced a lot of backlash and distraction from the trade rumors involving Deshaun Watson that lasted up until the trade deadline. Miami also suffered due to the non-commitment Brian Flores was giving to Tua Tagovailoa.

Days after the season was over, Stephen Ross fired Brian Flores after back-to-back winning seasons. The firing would culminate in severe allegations towards Dolphins owner Stephen Ross that would eventually end in forfeiture of two draft picks, one a first-round selection.

Miami Dolphins 2022 NFL Draft class

  • Rd 3: Channing Tindall, LB/Georgia
  • Rd 4: Erik Ezukanma, WR/Texas Tech
  • Rd 7: Cameron Goode, OLB/California
  • Rd 7: Skylar Thompson, QB/Kansas St.

The Dolphins traded their first and second-round draft picks to the Kansas City Chiefs for WR Tyreek Hill. To say the least, the blockbuster move was met with wide applause by Dolphins fans. With no first or second-round selections, the Dolphins took a top-quality LB with their first pick.

Tindall would have been drafted higher if not for the other Georgia linebackers drafted in April. Through the early stages of camp, Tindall has looked like a steal for the Dolphins.

Erik Ezukanma raised some eyebrows after the trade for Hill and the free agent signing of Cedrick Wilson, Jr. A closer look at the Dolphins WR room and depth made the draft selection more understandable and Miami is benefiting from the decision.

During the first two weeks of camp, Ezukanma has been a big surprise. His ability to run routes and his hands have been terrific to see.

Both of Miami’s first two selections are poised to make positive on-field contributions in 2022. Not much has been mentioned about Goode and Skylar Thompson, despite a terrific and surprisingly good camp, still may not make the roster.

Previewing Miami Dolphins offense for 2022 season

  • Key offseason additions
    • Tyreek Hill, WR
    • Cedrick Wilson Jr., WR
    • Chase Edmons, RB
    • Raheem Mostert, RB
    • Terron Armstead, OL
  • Biggest X-Factor: Tua Tagovailoa, QB
  • Squeakiest Wheel: Offensive Line

The Miami Dolphins added a lot to their offense in 2022. Tyreek Hill, Cedrick Wilson, Jr., Chase Edmonds, and Raheem Mostert all add exceptional speed to the offense. The addition of Terron Armstead brings experience and tenacity to the offensive line.

While most are focused on Tyreek Hill, the biggest factor on the Dolphins offense will remain, Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa enters his third NFL season but the Dolphins have internally tried to replace him twice, once with Deshaun Watson and again with Tom Brady.

Working in his benefit is a head coach that believes in his ability and an offensive system that is designed to take advantage of his accuracy. Tagovailoa is also putting to rest the debate about his long ball consistency. He has done well throughout camp.

Tua played better than what he was given credit for last year and he did so behind the worst-ranked offensive line in the NFL and with a bevy of wide receivers that were better suited to be backups. If he can play at even the same level this year with far more talent, the Dolphins should be a better offense.

A lot of the Dolphins success in 2022 is going to depend on the offensive line. Two players that stand out as needing to be much improved over last season are Liam Eichenberg and Austin Jackson. Miami’s entire offensive line success could ride on these two getting better. If they improve considerably, Miami’s O-Line will be good enough to make the offense a lot better.

Previewing Miami Dolphins defense for 2022 season

  • Key offseason additions: Channing Tindall
  • Biggest X-Factor: Jaelan Phillips
  • Squeakiest Wheel: None

The Miami Dolphins didn’t attack the defensive side of the ball like they did the offense during the off-season. The biggest free agent signing was Melvin Ingram but Channing Tindall may be the stud linebacker they really need. He was drafted late in the 3rd round.

Ingram is going to have his moments but the real star on defense could very well be second-year LB/DE Jaelan Phillips. Last year he turned a lot of heads locally and towards the end of the year started to turn some nationally. This year, many feel he is ready to take a big leap forward and it won’t go unnoticed. He is a pass-rushing machine who has worked to get quicker this off-season.

There are no “squeaky wheels” on this defense. Miami lost two players in free agency and both were minimal parts of the system. Instead of overspending in free agency, Miami re-signed almost the entire defensive free agents to keep the consistency on defense in a system that did not change with the arrival of Mike McDaniel.

The Dolphins were trending towards a top 5 defense towards the end of 2021 and there is no reason to believe they won’t continue entering 2022.

Miami Dolphins coaching staff overview

  • Head Coach: Mike McDaniel
  • Off. Coordinator: Frank Smith
  • Def. Coordinator: Josh Boyer

The Miami Dolphins fired Brian Flores after back-to-back winning seasons and three years as the head coach That is a story well documented. Mike McDaniel was hired to replace him and so far, he has won the fanbase over entirely and the local media rave about his attitude.

Still, he has never coached a game in the NFL as a head coach and follows a failing trend in Miami that dates back to Tony Sparano’s hiring, he is the 5th head coach in a row hired without any HC experience.

McDaniel is bringing a lot of energy to Miami and the players are behind him 100%. He has filled his staff in well with key additions specifically on offense including former Chargers run game coordinator Frank Smith who will oversee the offense alongside McDaniel. More importantly, he hired a quality offensive line coach, Matt Applebaum, and a passing game coordinator/quarterback coach in well respected NFL coach Darrell Bevel.
On the defensive side of the ball, not a lot changed as McDaniel retained defensive coordinator Josh Boyer and most of the staff. Now the question is how much of Miami’s success was Boyer and how much was Brian Flores?

Miami Dolphins Awards Watch for 2022 season

Tua Tagovailoa could impress this year but offensively, Tyreek Hill is the guy to watch. He has already grasped the offense and is leading on and off the field. Defensively, no one is better than Xavien Howard and barring injury, Howard should again run away with the team’s DPOY award.

Tyreek Hill, MVP

Hill should have a very good shot at winning the team’s MVP award but he won’t be on anyone’s watch list for NFL MVP. Nor will any other Dolphins players.

Xavien Howard, DPOY

Howard is ranked third by in terms of NFL cornerbacks. Two seasons ago he put up DPOY numbers and could potentially repeat double digit interceptions this year. If he does, he will be in the discussion by season’s end.

Mike McDaniel, Coach of the Year

Mike McDaniel has a big mountain to climb but the Dolphins look to be trending in the right direction. If McDaniel can get the Dolphins into the playoffs, his name is going to be mentioned quite a bit for Coach of the Year. It would likely mean double digit win total for the season and if Miami happens to win the division, he will probably walk away with the award.

Biggest game on the Miami Dolphins schedule in 2022

The two biggest games for the Dolphins are both against the same team and in the division. Miami has to find a way to beat the Buffalo Bills and until they do, they will not challenge for the AFC East title. The Bills have won consistently against the Dolphins the last four seasons. In fact, Miami has lost 9 of the last 10 meetings.

Miami Dolphins season prediction: Best case scenario

Miami’s best-case scenario would be to win the AFC East which I don’t believe they will. A more realistic expectation would be to challenge for a Wild Card spot late in the season and push for a 10-win season, something I believe they can achieve.

Miami Dolphins season prediction: Worst-case scenario

The Dolphins have gone through a lot of positive offensive changes but falling flat is a real concern given the fact that so many changes have actually taken place. While McDaniel struggling in his first season is normal, many fans are concerned that Josh Boyer may struggle to get his defense up to speed without Brian Flores.

Miami Dolphins season prediction for 2022

  • 9-8 record
  • 3rd place in AFC East
  • Playoff Prediction: Miss the playoffs

Miami has a lot working in their favor but the AFC is going to be the best conference statistically and with the AFC West looking to be dominant, I’m not sure 10 wins will be enough to get into anything more than playoff discussions.

Read more from FanSided’s 2022 NFL Preview here. For more Miami Dolphins coverage, check out Phin Phanatic.