MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The 2018 season kicks off on Sunday. Before the Dolphins take on the Titans, here are 10 things to watch for this season.
Let's start with the good:
1. Kenyan Drake will rush for around 1,000 yards and finish in the top 12 in the league in rushing.
2. Minkah Fitzpatrick will make an immediate and consistent impact as a rookie.
3. The pass rush will be one of the deeper units in the league, led by a resurgent Robert Quinn.
Next up, the consistent:
4. Ryan Tannehill will throw for around 22 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and 3,800 yards.
5. The receiving unit doesn't have a go-to guy, and that’s by design. I’m not sure they have enough playmakers, and that’ll hurt them during a long season.
The “potential” group:
6. I believe Xavien Howard is ready to keep growing, but I'm not convinced the other corners are going to be consistent. Howard’s presence keeps them out of the next category on my list, for now.
Now to the inconsistent:
7. The offensive line will have some ups and downs. If healthy, they can maybe work their way into the solid category. They reshuffled and added some parts with this unit, but that doesn't convince me they got any better.
Unfortunately, the ugly:
8. The middle of the defense will be an issue and opposing teams will take advantage. That focuses on the young defensive tackles and linebacker group.
9. Penalties. Yes, that ugly issue of Adam Gase's tenure. At some point this team needs to become more disciplined. I didn't see anything in the preseason to think they've improved this issue.
10. 7-9. This team is not as bad as the national media wants you to believe. They’re also not as good as you want to believe. That means they’ll likely be right in the range we're used to seeing them. Middle of the pack. If they stay healthy and somehow become more disciplined, they can push to the 9-win range. That would keep them in the conversation for a wild card spot until late in the season. I’m just not sure we can expect that.