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Three opponents Dolphins should hope get scheduled early in 2021

The Miami Dolphins would understandably tell you that they would play any team at any place at any time. And that the specifics of who they get scheduled on what week when the NFL unveils the 2021 schedule later this week don’t really matter. At the end of the day, the game will be played and Miami will have the opportunity to work through their weekly preparations to give themselves the best chance to win each game.

But there are additional dynamics at play that could unquestionably tip the scales in or out of Miami’s favor. Here are three teams that the Dolphins should hope show up on their schedules early in the season (and why):

Home vs. Indianapolis Colts

The easy explanation here is that the Colts are welcoming a new quarterback into the fray while bringing back an established coaching staff. The Colts and Carson Wentz will be a fascinating experiment. But if Indianapolis is able to find the old version of Carson Wentz, they very well may have stolen him from Philadelphia. It would be advantageous for the Dolphins to play the Colts early before Wentz and his receiver are given much of a chance to find their rhythm and timing on offense.

With a new quarterback and a presumably unresolved left tackle position, Indianapolis will be searching for answers early. And with Miami’s opportunistic defense, there would be no better time to catch the Colts than before they find out how they’re going to navigate those challenges.

Away vs. Buffalo Bills

This one is pretty straight forward. The worst thing that could happen for the Dolphins from a scheduling perspective would be to set the stage for a repeat of last year. The Dolphins ran out of gas by Week 17 and flopped against the Bills in Buffalo in January — surrendering 17% of their points allowed on the season in the frigid 35 degree weather while playing one half against the Bills’ backups. Miami quickly cut the game to a two-score deficit in the second half and got the ball back before a pick-six forced the wheels to fall off.

If the team is going to get a late-season showdown against Buffalo (and they likely will), hope that it features the Bills coming south and not Miami headed north.

The Tennessee Titans

The Titans are arguably the team that lost the most this offseason from the AFC playoff field. Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is gone to Atlanta. The Titans’ offense lost their first and second string right tackle, their WRs 2 & 3 on the depth chart and tight end Jonnu Smith. The defense lost Jadeveon Clowney, DL DaQuan Jones, and defensive backs Kenny Vaccaro, Malcolm Butler, Adoree’ Jackson and Desmond King.

Their replacements? Players like OT Kendall Lamm, WR Josh Reynold and CB Janoris Jenkins.

The Titans are a team in flux. Playing them early on would be advantageous to avoid letting them find their footing with personnel.

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