The Miami Dolphins are ranked No. 27 in ESPN's Football Power Index ahead of the 2020 NFL season. With no preseason games this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, Week 1 is the first time we'll see new acquisitions and rookies for every team. Week 1 will also give us the first NFL games since Super Bowl LIV in February.
Here's everything you need to know about the Dolphins heading into the season, from the big question to answer and the toughest stretch on their schedule to a bold prediction and potential breakout fantasy football stars.
The big question: What will the offensive line look like entering Week 1?
The Dolphins had the NFL's worst O-line last season, and if starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and eventual starter in rookie Tua Tagovailoa are going to look good, then this group has to play well. The unit is set to have four new starters, including rookie left tackle Austin Jackson and rookie right guard Solomon Kindley, and without any game action together, how they bond is a question mark. The big priority with this group has been to get more physical to improve upon a NFL-worst rushing game that gained 72.3 yards per game in 2019. -- Cameron Wolfe
How the pandemic has most affected the Dolphins
Receivers Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns have opted out of the 2020 season because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Those decisions created a lack of receiver depth, particularly in the slot, which the Dolphins haven't fully solved to this point. Starters Xavien Howard and Ereck Flowers each lost roughly two weeks of practice time while on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Tagovailoa's on-field growth was also slowed as he didn't hit the practice field for team drills until August. Meanwhile, the Dolphins plan to host 13,000 (or 20% capacity of Hard Rock Stadium) fans for their home opener Sept. 20 against Buffalo. -- Wolfe
Football Power Index projections for the Dolphins
Overall ranking: 27
Offensive ranking: 26
Defensive ranking: 26
Special teams ranking: 7
Total wins: 6.1
AFC East title chances: 5.4%
Chances to make playoffs: 12.4%
Super Bowl chances: 0.1%
2021 draft picks: Nos. 5 & 14 (via HOU)
FPI's strength of schedule rank: 11
Toughest stretch: A six-game stretch from Weeks 4 through 9 will have the Dolphins squaring off with the Super Bowl runner-up San Francisco 49ers, Russell Wilson's Seattle Seahawks, Kyler Murray's Arizona Cardinals and both Los Angeles teams. That stretch also includes three road trips to the West Coast. It's a period that will truly test the Dolphins starting on Oct. 4.
Over or under 6.1 wins? Over, slightly. I predicted the Dolphins will finish 7-9, a two-game improvement over 2019. It's a more difficult schedule, as noted above, but the Dolphins have added more talent than just about every team in the NFL through the draft and free agency. It remains to be seen how the shortened offseason will affect their team chemistry, but seven wins seems doable. -- Wolfe
Bold prediction for 2020: Dolphins duo to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards
DeVante Parker and Preston Williams will be the first Dolphins duo to each eclipse 1,000 receiving yards since Mark Duper and Mark Clayton did it in 1991. The Dolphins got a taste of what Williams and Parker could do together through eight games last season, totaling 428 and 400 yards, respectively, before the rookie Williams tore his ACL. Parker, who heated up in the second half of the 2019 season, had 1,202 yards. With a better offensive line and a combination of Fitzpatrick or Tagovailoa at QB, a healthy season by Parker and Williams could push them to join a pair of Dolphins greats in the record books. -- Wolfe
Breakout fantasy star: Preston Williams, WR
Williams went undrafted last offseason, but it didn't take the Colorado State product long to work his way up the Dolphins' depth chart. Williams handled 7.4 targets per game and was a top-40 fantasy WR during a rookie campaign cut short by a torn ACL in Week 9. Considering Williams out-targeted Parker as a rookie undrafted free agent, it's conceivable to think the 23-year-old will overtake his counterpart in 2020. Williams is one of the better late-round values in 2020 drafts. -- Mike Clay
ADP for the top players:
DeVante Parker: 76.4
Jordan Howard: 109.8
Matt Breida: 118.6
Preston Williams: 131.6
Mike Gesicki: 146.2
Super Bowl odds: 100-1 (opened 100-1)
Playoff odds: Yes +450, No -600
On the bright side, the Dolphins were 500-1 to win the Super Bowl at this time last year, so 100-1 doesn't seem so bad. Will they hit the over 6 wins? The Dolphins have hit the over in their win total in three of their past four seasons. -- ESPN Chalk staff
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill as of Sept. 1.